Skip to main content

Full text of "An Approach To The Quranic Sciences By Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani"

See other formats

J I STtCE Ml / // 

Ml // MM/ U) I \oi I SM \\l 









Justice Mufti 
Mohammad Taqi Usmani 

Translated By 

Dr. Mohammad Swaleh Siddiqui 

Revised & Edited By 

Rafiq Abdur Rehman 


Urdu Bazar Karachi- 1 

Pakistan Tel : 021-2213768 

Copyright Regd. Number 

All Rights Reserved with DARUL - IS HAAT KARACHI 

Copyright delegated to r 

Mohammed Asif 31 0-New Meena Bazar Jama Masjid Dehli India 




E-mail : ishaat(ti),digicom. net, pk 




AZHAR ACADEMY, 235a, Romford Rd., Forest Gate, London E7 9HL 


To my respected father 


in whose person lay for me 
the compassion of an exemplary — nay, an unmatched 
father, an impeccable teacher, and a sagacious guardian 

and mentor. 

and to none else on earth 

my love and my devotion are directed. 

May Allah shower Mercy on him. 

Without his prior permission do I dedicate this little 
effort to him with the submission. 

Muhammad Taqi Usmani 

Publisher's Submission # 

The English translation of Justice Mufti Mohammad Taqi 
Usmani's well known work Uloom al-Quran is in your 
hands. Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi ^Aw-, and 
Maulana Muhammad Yousuf Binnori ^Jj.^j have spoken 
about the book and its author in their introducing remarks. 

I had commissioned the English translation of the 
book in 1992 and finally the book is published having gone 
through various steps in the nine years. We bow down our 
heads in prostration before Allah in gratitude for having 
enabled us to achieve this task. It is a work, first of all, on 
the science of a great Book that the Qur'an is, and 
secondly, a scholar of the standing of Justice Mufti 
Muhammad Taqi Usmani, my respected uncle, has written 
it. May Allah grant him health, peace and security. 

We have tried to reflect the high standard of the 
book in its translation too. We hope that we have been 
successful in our effort and we are to blame for any short 
coming in the result. I request the readers to point out 
whatever mistake they detect in the translation so that 
amendments can be made in the next edition. I also request 
readers to remember me, my father and my family 
members in their prayers. May Allah reward them. And 
may He reward every one associated with this work 

Khalil Ashraf Usmani 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 


An appreciation 19 

Foreword 2 1 

Introduction 23 

Chapter: 1 27 

Introduction 27 

The name Quf an and the reason for it 27 

Facts about Wahy (Divine revelation) |» 31 

Need for Wafyy 31 

Meaning of Wahy 33 

Teachings of Wahy 35 

Kinds of Wahy 37 

Wahy at heart 37 

Direct discourse from Allah 37 

Angelic Wahy 3g 

Methods of Wahy on the Holy Prophet M 39 

Ringing of bells 39 

Angel coming in human guise 42 

Angel coming in his original appearance 44 

True dreams 44 

Discourse with Allah 45 

Inspiration in the heart 45 

Wahy, Kashf and Ilham 4 6 

Qur'anic and non-Quranic Wafty 47 

Intellectual doubts about Wafiy 49 
Does Wahy include only the meaning of the Quran 54 

Chapter: 2 59 

History of the descent of the Quran 59 

First descent 60 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Second descent 

The verse that was the first to be revealed 

Makkan and Madinan verses 

Characteristics of Makkan and Madinan verses 

Classification of revelation on the basis of time and place 

Gradual descent of the holy Quran 

Sequence of revelation and the present arrangement 

Causes of revelations 

Importance and advantages 

Causes of revelations and Shah Wali-Ullah 

Causes of revelations and generalisation and 

specification of commands 

Different Ahadith against causes of revelations 

Repetition of revelations and its reality 

Chapter: 3 

The seven readings of the Quran 

Meaning of seven letters 

Most acceptable explanation of seven readings 

Variation in numbers 

Variation in gender 

Variations in placement of diacritical marks 

Variations in verb 

Variations in syntax 

Variations caused by transposition 

Variations of pronunciation or accent 

Reasons for preference 

Objections to this view and their replies 

What is the ease created by seven renderings 

Are the seven letters still preserved or are they obsolete? 

Ibn-e-JarTr's view 

Ibn JarTr's point of view and its weakness 

Imam Tahavi's view 

Most acceptable view 






An approach to the Quranic sciences jj 

Supporters of this view 13 j 

Arguments in favour of this view 143 

Possible questions and their answers 1 48 
Meaning of writing in the language of Quraysh 151 

Use of synonyms in recitation 153 
Abdullah bin Mas'ud and his transcript ^^^ 156 

Conclusions of discussion 161 
Truth about the difference in opinion on seven letters 163 

A misunderstanding removed: 163 

Chapter: 4 ]67 

Abrogator & abrogated 167 

Meaning of abrogation 1 §qr 

Prudent and conventional proof of abrogation 1 67 
Difference seen in the technical meaning of 

abrogation by the earlier and later scholars 169 

Discussion on abrogation in the Quran 171 

Number of abrogated verses of the Quran 175 

Conclusion IgQ 

Chapter: 5 18 l 

History of preservation of the Quran 181 

Writing of the Quran during the days of the 

Prophet id jgj 

Writing of the Quran in the Prophetic era 185 

The first stage jg^ 
Collection of the Quran during the period of 

Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4& 191 

Second stage 191 

Collection of the Quran in the period of Sayyidina 

'Uthman £$k> 1 97 

Third stage 1 97 

Steps taken to facilitate recitation of the Quran 205 

Fourth stage 205 

Dots 205 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 










Diacritical marks _ 

Stages (Ahzab & Manazil) ^ 

Parts ( Ajza) _ _ 

Fives & tens (Akhmas and A'shar) w 

Section (Ruku') _ _ %^^ 

Signs to stop (Rumuz-e-auqaf) ^^ 

Printing of the Holy Quran ,fpb 

Fifth stage 

Recitations and their compilation «^^ 

Chapter: 6 

Doubts about preservation of the Qurln and their 


First objection 

Some verses of early days could not be preserved 

Second objection 

The Prophet had once forgotten a verse 

Third objection 

Reference of Surah Al-An'am in Surah An-Nisa 

Fourth objection _ 

Slander of Margoliouth against Imam Bukhan 

Fifth objection 

Some verses were lost by sayyidah'Ai shah ^>"^^ *« 

Sixth objection _ 

Number of memorisers of the Quran in the days of 

the Prophet ^ 

Seventh objection _ 

'Abdullah bin Mas'ud and Mu'wazatayn (the last 

two Suras) 
Eighth objection 
S Collection of the Quran during the time of 

Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4e> 

Ninth objection 

Complete Quran was not written upto the time ot 
















i// approach to the Quranic sciences t3 

Sayyidina Abu Bakr's Caliphate 243 

Tenth objection 245 

Doubts about the origin of different Recitals ^W 245 
Eleventh objection 248 

Rare Recitals of the Quran 248 

Chapter-7 253 

Truthfulness of the Quran 253 

Messengership of Sayyidina Muhammad M 253 

Tidings about Prophet Muhammad ^ the Divine 
Scriptures 254 

Miracle of the Quran 259 

Miraculous attributes of the Quran 266 

Miracle of words 266 

Miracle of syntax 272 

Miracle of style 27^> 

Miracle of system 278 

Prophesies of the Quran 281 

Victory of Romans 282 

News about the conquest of Makkah 284 

Wishing for death by the Jews 285 

Safety of the Quran 286 

Disclosures of the Quran 289 
Truth of the Quran and non-Muslim authors of the West 290 

Holy Prophet M and the people of the Book 297 

Some objections on the Quran 303 

The name, of Maryam's (mary's) father 303 

Haman, the minister of Fir'aun (Pharoah) 305 

Chapter-8 307 

Subjects of the Quran 307 

Beliefs (assenting aspect) 307 

Recorded arguments 308 

Logical arguments 3qo 

Observational arguments 314 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Experimental arguments 

Beliefs (negating aspect) 

Polytheist Idolaters 

The Jews ^J 

The Christians 



Background of Revelation 


Events of the Past 

Why repetition of events'? 

Future events 



The Science of TafsTr (Exegesis) 

Chapter: 1 

The science of exegesis (TafsTr) and its sources 


TafsTr and ta'wTl 

Sources of TafsTr (exegesis) 

First Source: The Quran itself 

Second Source: Traditions of the Holy Prophet 

Third Source: Sayings of the Companions 4*> 

Fourth Source: Sayings of TabaT (successors of the 

Companions ;#>) 

Fifth Source. Arabic language 

Sixth Source: Common Sense 

Chapter: 2 

Unreliable sources of Exegesis 
Isra r iliyyat or Judaica 
























l/i approach to the Quranic sciences I5 

I i h -al-Ahbar 3 64 

Wahl) bin Munabbih 365 

bdullah bin 'Amr 4#e> 3 67 
I .xerosis of the Sufis (mystics) ^* 359 

11 conceived interpretations 372 

« luuses of inaccuracies in Exegesis 375 

I 11 st cause: Incompetence 375 

Some misunderstandings 377 

Ni< 'Ulama and monopoly in the field 380 

The 'Ulama and the Papal system 381 

■cond cause: 00^ 

... _ joo 

Subjecting the Quran to one's own views 386 
Third Cause: Being impressed with prevailing 

I'hilosophy 388 

I lie question of miracles 39 j 

Against reason or observation 393 

fourth cause: 4 q, 

Misunderstandig the Quranic subject 401 

< Chapter: 3 ^^ 411 

Some important principles of Exegesis 411 

The noble Quran and allegoric meanings 412 

The noble Quran and human rationale 421 

( Conclusive reason 493 

Presumptive reason 423 

Conjectural human rationale 423 

( Conclusive recorded arguments 424 

Presumptive recorded arguments 424 

Conjectural recorded arguments 425 

Injunctions of Shari'ah and reasoning 433 
I Inchecked reasoning versus guidance and 

lYudence behind Islamic injunctions and their place 

in religion 443 



An approach to the Quranic science 

Injunctions do not depend on expediencies 

The real purpose of Quranic injunctions is to set to 


Correct method of interpreting the Quran and 


Changes of Time and religious laws 

Meaning of 'change of time?' 

Appropriate sphere of activity of intellect and reason 

Chapter: 4 

Some Exegettes of early era 

'Abdullah bin 'Abbas ^^ _ 

Truth about the prevalent Exegesis of Ibn 'Abbas 

(TafsTr Ibn-' Abbas) ^^ 

'AH Ibn Abu Talib -4^> 

'Abdullah bin Mas'ud 4*> 

Ubayy bin Ka'b 

After the companions 4^> 


Sa'Td bin Jubayr 


Truth about objections on Ikramah 

Goldzihers confusion 

Ta'wus *J* art *-o^ j 

'Ata bin Abi Rabah 

Sa'Td bin Al-Musayyib 

Muhammad bin Sinn 

Zayd bin Aslam 

Abul "Aliyah 

'Urwah bin Az-Zubayr 

Hasan Basri 


Muhammad bin Ka'b Al-Qurazi 




























lit approach to the Quranic sciences jj 

As wad 493 

Murrah Al-Hamdahi 494'i 494 

Sha'bT - 495 

llm Abi Mulaykah 495 

Ihn Jurayj 495 

pahhak 497 

Weak or disputed Commentators of early era 499 

Suddi 499 

The senior 499 

The junior 50I 

Muqatil ^^^ 502 

Rab'T bin Anas 506 

'Atiyyah Al-'AufT J^* 507 

'Abdur Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam' 509 

KalbT 510 

Some Exegesis of later times 513 

TafsTr Ibn-kathTr 5 j 4 

TafsTr kabTr 5 j g 

TafsTr abi assga'ud 5 j g 

TafsTr al-qurtubT 51 g 

Ruh ul-Ma'anT 519 

/•i>i<>ach to the Quranic sciences 19 


Shaikh ul-tfadith, Allimah Sayyid Muhammad 
r*usuf Binon -Up<&i«Uj-j. 

lii the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. 
All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds. 
And may blessings and peace be on Sayyidina 
Muhammad, the last of the Prophets, and his family 
mid companions- all of them. 

Many reliable and worthy books in Arabic on the 

in es of the Quran are available. They are composed by 

worthy predecessors and later day scholars. However, 

III) the Ulama can benefit from them. Most of these 

nks were written for the earlier people and indeed, 

■ lied their thirst of knowledge. 

When Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan published his exegesis 

■I ill'- Quran and other writings in Delhi, he played havoc 

'ih Islamic beliefs and presented the new generation with 

• ninded ideologies, belittling Prophethood and rejecting 

Miracles, Paradise, Hell, angels, and the devils. He 

' nested innovative ideas and principles for interpreting 

(Jur'anic facts. At that time, Allah caused Mawlana 

Mill Haq Haqqani Dahlavi, Deobandi to rise. He wrote 

t< client exegesis of the Qur'an entitled fath al-Mannan_ 

iml 1 superb Muqaddamah (introduction) al-Bayan fi 

Htmm al-Quran. In the first volume of the exegesis, he 

1 ii( led a summory of the muqaddamah. In this way, he 

Killed the need of his times. 

However, keeping the present day trends in mind, a 

20 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

fresh approach was needed to present to our new 
generation the concepts and facts of the Qur'an. The 
mischief of the orientalists had to be offset by telling our 
new generation about wahy, descent of the Qur'an the 
various recitals and its uniqueness. If readers get an 
insight of these subjects they would be able to ward off 
doubts and misgivings created in their minds by the 
orientalists and western minded Muslims. 

Al-Hamdulillah, this lacuna has been very ably filled by 
my respected brother, Mawlana Muhammad Taqi Usmani, 
the worthy son of Mawlana Muhammad ShafI aJ* fa a^-j. he 
wrote it down as an exhaustive MuqaddaMah to the 
Ma'arif-ul-Qur'an and did a great religious service, and a 
favour to the Ummah. May Allah enhance him in 
knowledge, give him more writing power and ability and 
enable, him to be of further service to religion. 

I have Seen some parts of this work thoroughly and, 
some others, at random. Praise be to Allah, I am very 
happy at it and my heart gives out a prayer. 

<a^\ j 4jf J&j 'JLA\ iSti-j 'JsJtis SL, al^Ji Cy£, 

My Allah choose us and him for service to His religion 
purely to earn His pleasure. And may blessings of Allah 
be on Sayyidina Muhammad^the Chief to the worlds, seal 
of Prophet, and on his family, his companions and the 
scholars of the ummah— all of them! 

Muhammad Yusuf B innori 

(May Allah forgive him) 
Madrasah 'Arabiyah Islamiyah 


12th Jumadiul awwal 1396AH 

I" <uic h to the Quranic sciences 21 


(Mufti Muhammad Shafi «uU4JU»a^-j) 

Nirough his grace and mercy, Allah favoured and 
iNcd me to be of service to the Qur'an by writing the 
artful- Qur'an. And. it gives me pleasure to learn that 
i" Inns do derive benefit from it. When the first volume 
■ reviewed and revised, I wished that a thesis should be 
liulcd as an introduction to the sciences of Qur'an but 
lliiess coupled with weakness prevented me from 
lldi rtaking the task and I entrusted the task to my dear 
Muhammad Taqi. He wrote down a brief introduction 
III subject for the Ma'arif til Qur'an. Simultaneously, 
r, he took up writing on the subject exhaustively 
l"< li is now before us as ^^ Uloom ul-Qur r an(An 
ipronch to the Quranic Sciences) 

Mi is is a vast knowledge. Many volumnous books are 
Men on the subject in Arabic, and quite a number have 
ii published in Urdu, too. There was, nevertheless, scope 
■ i hook that would deal with related discourses in detail 
i ward off the misgivings created by the orientalists and 
i It was also necessary to bring to light the principles 
Vafseer (exegesis) especially because, recently, many 
i i have begun to compose commentaries on the Qur'an 
ii iliough they are ill-equipped for the task and do not 
• vs the requisite knowledge. These people should be 
inn (I of the dangers of their rash undertakings which 
i 'i mislead other people. 

We (hank Allah that this book has tackled the problem 

ltd than I had expected. And , I am confident that if it 

I* i .Ml with a quest for truth and a fair outlook, Insha 

llHll i( will provide insight into the science of exegisis 

move doubts that are created in the mind" by 

Ii iding suggestions of the orientalists and false fables 

22 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

common among the laymen. 

The truth is that I had entrusted this task to my son 
because of my illness and weakness on the understanding that 
what a father leaves incomplete, the son completes it. But, 
when the book was before me and, aL though I could not read 
it myself because of poor eyesight, my happiness knew no 
bounds when passages were read to me and I thank Allah 
deeply for this. If I had chosen to write on the subject when I 
was healthy, I could not have written as well as my son has 
done. There are two reasons for that. The first is that I could 
never have gone through the large number of books that son 
has consulted for the writing of the present book. Only a 
cursory glance at the numerous references to sources in the 
footnotes with their chapters and page numbers will disclose 
the amount of research he has undertaken. 

The second reason is that my lack of knowledge of 
English kept me unaware of the poison spread by the 
orientalists against the teachings of Qur'an. My son who 
is a graduate with distinction in M. A. (English) and LLB 
could detect their mischief and give a befitting answer. 

I pray to Allah from the core of my 

heart that He keep this light of my eyes safe, give him a 
long life and protect him from all mischief and trial! May 
He enable him to serve religion with greater enthusiasm 
and grant him truthfulness, sincerity and Your pleasure! 
May He grant approval to this work and make it a means 
of salvation for him and for me and let Muslims benefit 
from it to a great extent! 

And Allah is the one who helps and on Him is 
reliance placed. 

fcj^ Mufti Muhammad Shaft 

(may Allah forgive him) 
Dar ul-Uloom. Karachi 

1st Jumadi al-Thani 1396AH 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 23 


Praise belongs to Allah Who suffices. And peace be 
on His chosen slaves. 

The Quran is a blessing of Allah for all mankind. No 
amount of worldly wealth can replace it. It is that piece of 
cure which brings blessings in both the worlds through its 
recital, just looking at it, listening to it or reading over to 
others, learning it or teaching it, practicing its commands 
and propagating and diffusing its teachings in any manner 

A Hadith is transmitted in Safjeefj Muslim as narrated 
by Sayyidina Uqbah Ibn A amir <**?& they were seated one 
day at Suffah when the Prophet 3ft came to them and said, 
"Does any of you love that he should go every morning to 
the market of) Buthan or Aqeeq and bring two she-camels 
of the best kind without committing a sin or severing ties 
of relationship?" They said, "O Messenger of Allah, every 
one of us would like to do that. "So, he said, "If anyone 
goes to the Mosque everyday and learns two verses (of the 
Quran) or recites them then that is better for him than two 
she-camels. And, if he learns three verses, that is better 
than three she-camels, and learning four verses is better 
than four she-camels." 

This Hadith is just one example of the encouragement 
that the Prophet $S$ gave to his ummah to recite the Quran 
to interpret its Message, to put it into practice and to 
diffuse its knowledge worldwide. The books of Ahadith 
are full with other Ahadith of the same Message. This is 
why the ummah has done great service to the Qur'an and 

24 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

its sciences and made extraordinary efforts to preserve its 
words and meanings. If we probe into these efforts, we are 
held spellbound. 

Efforts to understand and interpret the Quran are one 
thing, the ummah has left no stone unturned to learn and 
preserve correct pronunciation and delivery of its words 
and the diactrical marks over its letters. They have 
founded a science of this subject and we do not find an 
example of that in any other language or religion of the 
world. Take the science of Tajweed alone. Whole libraries 
are found on the subject of correct reading of the Qur'an. 

In short, of the many ways in which service is 
rendered to the Quran, one is through the books on the 
sciences of the Quran. 

This is a vast knowledge and it underlines the 
principles and basis of exegesis. It tells us , how the 
Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet ft, the reality of 
wahy, the sequence of revelation, the period during which 
the whole of it was revealed, the distinction of Makkan 
and Madinan surahs, background of revelation and how it 
helps in interpreting the Qur'an, the abrogated verses of 
the Quran. Meaning of many letters and many Recital of 
Quran, its subjects, manner in which" Allah has preserved 
it, the stages which its writing and printing has gone 
through, principles and manners of exegesis, correct way 
to understand it and the errors that could mislead anyone. 
Many other similar questions are answered in the books of 
Uloom al Qur'an. 

There are books on this subject in Arabic. They 
include^ al Burhan fi uloom il Qur'an, 4 vols. By Allamah 
Zakashi, al Itqan, 2 vols, by Allamah Suyuti. Manahil al 
Irfan, 2 vols. By Shaikh Zarqani. These books are well- 
known and reliable to this day and serve as source for 
subsequent worKs and study. There are innumerable 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 25 

books in Urdu .too that cover this topic. The most 
• "inprehensive and distinctive is al Bay an fi uloom il 
'iir'an by Abdul Haq Haqqani*~U- <&i «U^j . 

However , in different times the requirements also 

ill lor. With the influence of western thought and ideas, 

iicsh question came to be raised and had to be answered. 

Ili< subject had to be dealt with from a new angle. For a 

long time it was felt that another book should be written 

ill a fresh approach but I had not an iota of idea that I 

•nld have some part in it. 

This honour seemed to be written for me. The 

x-kground of the story is that my respected father 

twlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi 4je.&\X**-j wrote the 

Urdu exegesis of the Qur'an, Ma'arif ul Qur'an which is 

• hlished in eight volumes. We can say without the least 

nancy that it is an unmatched urdu Jcifseer on the 

Mem of the righteous predecessors for the modern times. 

lid Allah granted it immense approval, when the second 

petition was about to be printed. My respected father 

"minanded me to write down an introduction to it on the 

Important points of the sciences of the Quran. 

I began to write it down in obedience to him and while 

I was writing it down the earlier wish arose in me again 

I the introduction became lengthy in spite of my efforts 

shorten it. When die manuscript crossed two hundred 

•t\s, I realized that that was too lengthy an introduction 

■ i he Tafseer, and many important points had yet not 

ii touched!. So, on the advice of my respected father, I 

limmarized the introduction for the Tafseer and it was 

published with that. The lengthier work became part of a 

I -.irate book by itself. However, my engagement in other 

I caused a delay in completing the book. When it was 

uly, I had included in it almost all the material I had in 

mind for the book. 

26 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

While I cannot yet say it the book has everything that 
is necessary for the present times, yet I have full hope in 
Allah that as far as the subject is concerned, it includes 
much of what we need to teach today. I have had to 
consult many books to collect together the answers to 
many known questions and to include fresh ones. If they 
meet the approval of the learned then it is merely a favour 
of Allah , otherwise, 1 have the satisfaction of at least 
having initiated an effort for other scholars to complete it. 
If it helps anyone in understanding the Quran, I will have 
received my reward in full. 

I request readers to pray that Allah grant approval to 
my humble effort and let it be an asset for me in the 
hereafter. Aameen. 



And only Allah is the One who enables, the 
Exalted, the Magnificent!. 

Muhammad Taqi Usmani 

Dar Ul Uloom, Karachi 

29 Jumadi al Awwel, 1396 A. H. 




'Allamah Abul Ma'ali has listed 55 names of the 
Holy Quran. Some scholars have counted them to be more 
than 90, but the fact is that they have reached these 
numbers by considering the various attributes of the Quran 
as its names. But actually the names of the Quran are 
limited only to five names viz, 

1. AL-QURAN /^^ The Reading 

2. AL-FURQAN ^J The Criterion 

3. AZ-ZIKR Qj The Advice 

4. AL-KITAB ^J^ The Book 

5. AT-TANZEEL The Revelation 

The Holy Quran itself has used these five words, as its 
proper names. Of these the most popular name is "Quran," 

I. Abul Ma'ali (ma'ali "s father/; real name was 'Azizy bin 'Abdul 
Malik and shaydhlah was the Title, was a Shafa'T scholar in the 
fifth^ century Hijri, died in 494. AH. 'Aallamah Zarkashy and 
Suyuti have quoted his book "Al-Burhan-fi-Mushkilatil Qur^an: at 
numerous occassions. 

2. See "Al-ltqan fl 'Uloom il Quran" by Allama Suyuti, v.l, p51, 
Cairo edition. /3 6 8 m- 

S. See "Manhil-al-'Irfan", by Zarqlni, vl . p2. Printed atTsa-al-babi 
Al-Halbi 1372 AH. 

4. For Al-Furqan see Q:3:l, for Az-Zikr Q,3:58, 14:6, p8: etc., for 
Al-Kitab Q 2:1, 16:64, 89 etc. for Al-Tanzeel, Q 26:5, 56:80, 
69:69 etc. 

28 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

so Allah Himself has called it iwith this name in not less 
than 'sixty-one places. 

The word Quran is derived from Qara'a Yaqra'u ( Sy 
\j&i) which literally means. "To collect" but later on this 
word came to be used for "Reading" because the words and 
letters are collected together while reading something. The 
masdar or verbal noun is 3*<j3and W*j8. Allah says: 

*• ,70 „-- « x o -- . s o ^i *■ -*. , 

4 »'j-»J 4_*_-<kJ>- l-Jj-l-P (Jj 

Surely upon Us rests the collecting thereof, and the 
reciting thereof. (al-Qiyamah. 75:17] 

Also, in Arabic language sometimes verbal noun is used 
in the meaning of its passive participle. The Quran is so 
named in the same sense, that is, 7 "The Book that is read". 

Various reasons have been advanced for giving it the 
name, Quran. It seems more appropriate that this name has 
been given to the Book of Allah to refute the unbelievers of 
Arabia, because they used to say. 

* o 

4J fyjlj OlyUl UugJ 

Listen not to this Quran, but boo loudly during its 
recital. (Fussilat, 41:26) 

Thus by giving it the name "Quran", has been 
proclaimed that its Message cannot be suppressed by such 
ridiculous means. The Book is revealed to be read and it 

5. For reference please see, Fathur Rahman-li-Talib Ayatil Qur'an by 
'llmi Zadah al-Hasani, pp 358. 359, Al-Ahliya Press, Beirut. 1223 

6. "Al-Mufradat fi GhaiTb al-Quran" by Raghib Isphahani, P. 411, 
printed at Ashal Matab'i , Karachi 1380 AH. 

7. There are several other views regarding the origin of this word, but 
they are not free of doubts. For details see, al-Itqan, yl, p52, and 
Mana-hil-al-Irfan y.l, p7. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 29 

shall be read till the Last Day. 

Hence it is now an established fact that the Holy Quran 
is the most widely read Book in the world. 

However, the conventional definition of "Quran" has 
been made in the following words: 

The words of Allah that were revealed to His 
Messenger $g, wrtten in Books and narrated continuously 
fr oirt him wih out any doubt. 8 

This definition is unanimously accepted by all the 
learned scholars without any difference of opinion. 

at-Talweeh ma' al-Tawdeeh, yl, p26, printed at Mustafa Press 
al-babi, Egypt. 

ift approach to the Quranic sciences 31 



Since the Quran has been sent down to the Holy 
I'rophet Muhammad $§ through Divine revelations or 
" Wahy" '(^j- j) ,it is necessary at the outset to know certain 
things about "Watty". 


Every Muslim knows that Allah has sent Man in this 
world for trial, and, after assigning certain duties to him, 
the entire universe has been placed at his service. Hence 
two things become imperative for Man to do after he has 
come to this world. First, he must make use of the 
Universe around him in the right manner, and secondly 
while using these things he must keep in view the 
Commandments of Allah and do nothing against His will. 

For both these things he needs "knowledge". Unless he 
knows the reality of this universe and the uses of things 
present therein, and the way he can make use of them, he 
cannot get any benefit out of them. Further; it will be 
impossible for him to live in accordance with the pleasure 
of Allah unless he knows what He likes, and what He does 
not like. 

Thus, when Allah created Man, He complemented his 
creation with three such things as give him knowledge of 
the foregoing, For this purpose, along with human beings, 
He,Allah % also created three other things through which they 
would come to know about this. First, the five sense 
organs, i.e. eyes, ears, nose, mouth and limbs; secondly, 
the faculty of reasoning, intellect or wisdom; and thirdly, 

32 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

the Divine revelation or Wahy. Hence a man learns many 
things through his senses and many more through his 
intellect. Those that cannot be learnt through these two 
media are brought to his knowledge through Wahy. (Divine 

The three sources of knowledge are so arranged that 
each one of them has a definite range and fixed sphere of 
activity beyond which it does not work. Hence those things 
that a man learns through his senses cannot be perceived 
through reason alone. For example, if a man is sitting in 
front of me I know through my eyes that he is a human 
being. My eyes also tell me that he is fair coloured, has a 
broad forehead, black hair, thin lips and oval face. But if I 
do not use my sensory faculties keeping my eyes closed and 
rely on my mental abilities alone to know the colour and 
structural built of this man, it will be impossible. 

Similarly, things that are learnt through intellect cannot 
be perceived by the senses alone; For example, I know 
about that same person that he has a mother, and also that 
he has been created by Someone, even though neither is his 
mother present before me nor can I see his Creator, but my 
intellect tells me that this person could not be born by 
himself. If, however, I want to have this knowledge 
through my eyes rather than intellect, it would be 
impossible because the scene of his creation and birth 
cannot come before my eyes. 

Thus, as far as the five senses are concerned, our 
intellect does not give us any guidance but its activity starts 
from where the scope of the senses ends. But even the 
scope of intellectual faculties is not limitless; it ends at a 
certain point, And there are many things which cannot be 
known either by senses or by intellect. Taking the example 
of this same person, our intellect told us who created him, 
but why was he created, what duties have been assigned to 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 33 

him by the Creator, which of his deeds are liked by Allah 
and which are disliked, are questions which cannot be 
answered even jointly by the senses and intellect. It is the 
channel by Allah to provide answer to such questions that is 
known as ' Wahy" (Divine Revelations), which is revealed to 
a selected person appointed as His Messenger whom His 
discourses are revealed. "Wahy" is the highest source of 
knowledge that provides answers to questions related to his 
life and which be solved through his senses or intellect, he 
must have answers to those questions. 

This also clarifies that intellect and observation alone 
are not sufficient for the guidance of man but the need of 
'Wahy" is an inescapable requirement for his guidance. 
Since the need of "Wahy" is felt, where mental faculties 
fail to provide guidance. Human intellect may not 
neassarily comprehend everything related to Wahy. Just as 
perception of colour of a thing not within the scope of 
intellect but it is done by senses. Similarly transmission of 
knowledge about many religious beliefs is the function of 
Wahy and it will not be wise to rely upon intellect alone 
for this perception. 9 


Keeping in view the above introduction, ponder over 
the substance and reality of "Wahy". ^j and ****£ are 
Arabic words and their meanings in dictionaries have been 
described as "To signify something quickly", whether by 
way of enigma or metaphor, by way of a meaningless 
sound, by moving a part of the body, or by way of 

9. Only brief hints have been made here about the need for "wahy" For a 
detailed discussion on this subject please consult, "Introduction by Abi 
Shakoor Salimi (p3-72) and" 'UIoom-ul-Quran" by Mawlana Shamsul 
tfaq Afghani p3-18, published by Idara Madrasah Farooquiyah 
Bahawalpur 1389AH. 

34 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

inscriptions and writings. These words apply in all these 
situations. Thus, the Holy Quran uses the word in the 
same meaning while describing the incident of Zakariyya 

,» t ft 

i. 'J 'fA >$ ^r>Ji ^ v y ji -^ 

« * •> 

So he went forth to his people from the sanctuary, then 
he beckoned to them "Glorify (your Lord) morning and 
evening " . (Surah Mary am , 19:11) \ 

Evidently such gestures are meant to infuse something 
in the heart of one's audience. The word Wahy andl-Ka ? un 
therefore, began to be used in this meaning. In a number of 
verses of the Holy Quran this very meaning is intended. 
For example, 

"And your Lord revealed to the bee (saying): "Build 
your homes in the mountains..." (An-Nahl, 16:68) 

So much so that the word has been used in The Quran 
even for the suggestions inspired by the devils, 

* , 

And thus did We appoint to every Prophet an 
enemy-states of men and jinn, inspiring one another with 
gilded speech... (Al-An'ain. 6: 1 12) 

And also, 

10: Az-Zubaydi, Taj ul-'urus v,l, p384 Dar ul Libya, Banghazi 1386 
AH. Ar-Raghib: al-Mufcadat. 

I/; ti/fproach to the Quranic sciences 35 


And certianly the satans are ever inspiring their friends 
to dispute with you. (Al-An'am, 6:121) 

And Allah had addressed the angels again with word 

(Recall), when your Lord, (O Prophet)^ inspired the 
angels (saying), "I am with you..." (Al-Anfal, 8:12) 

Anything that Allah prompts into the heart of those 
other than Prophets is also expressed by the same word 

o > *t "I,, . o, o S, 

And We revealed to Musasmother saying, "Suckle 
him..." (Al-Qasas, 28:7) 

But these are literal expressions of this word. In 
religious terminology, however, "Wahy" is defined as, 

"The Words of Allah that are sent down to any of His 

It must be borne in mind that the word "Wahy" has 
come to be used in this sense to such an extent that its 
application to anyone other than a Prophet is not proper. 
'Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri *Jp &) Uj^j has stated that 
Waky.un and I-Ha^un are two different words and there is 
a minor distinction in the meaning of the two words. 
I-Halim* has a general application, and apart from denoting 

ll:'Umdatul Qari Li-Sharah Sahihi Bukhari vl, gl 8, Darut 
Taba-al-Amirah Istanbul 1308 A.H.* 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Revelations to the Prophets it includes gestures and 
msp,rat,ons to any one other than a Prophet as well Thus 
the word is used for both Prophets and other persons 
Contrary to this, Wahy is applied to Divive inspiration sent 
down to Prophets only. The Holy QurSn has also used the 
word "Iha" for both Prophets and other human beings but 
the word Wahy has not been used for anyone except the 12 
Prophets. ^ 

Thus, Wahy is the channel through which Allah sends 
down His words to any of His chosen servant and 
Messenger, and through this Messenger to all other human 
beings. And since Wahy is a sacred instructive link between 
Allah and His servants and is perceived by the Prophets 
£LJ.^ only, its true cognition is not possible for human 

Tr^r "° h WeVer ' thG Qu '" n and V" ** (Prophetic 
Traditions) have imparted some knowledge about its kinds 

and perceptions, and only those can be described here. 


By means of Wahy people are taught those things which 
they cannot learn from their senses and intellect alone 
These things may be purely of religious nature, or may 
belong to common needs of the world. The Wahy of the 
Prophets generally belongs to the first category, but when 
needed, instructions about mundane affairs have also been 
imparted through Wahy. For example Nooh M was 
commanded to construct the Ark in these words: 

And make the Ark under Our eyes and Our revelation. 

(Hud, 11:37) 

12:Faidul Bari vl, P 19, Mat-ban Hijazi, Cairo 1357 AH by Maulana 

Answar Shah K-Qchm^; J auM "* 

Answar Shah Kashmiri. 

I" approach to the Quranic sciences 37 

This tells that the art of making Ark or ship building 
Was taught to him by means of Wahy. Similarly Dawood 
HttJ was taught the art of making armour. Also Adam $3 
was taught the peculiarities of things through Wafyy n and 
ii cording to one narration basic knowledge of medical 
science was also sent down through Wahy. 


'Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri *«U i»i i^-j has stated 
(hat basically there are three kinds of Wahy. 


This kind of Wahy is directed to the heart of a Prophet 
and Allah inspires something into it. In this there is no 
medium of angel or hearing faculty or other senses of the 
Prophet, He does not hear any voice but something is 
infused into the depths of his heart, and he knows that it 
has come from Almighty Allah. This may happen in sleep 
or wakefulness. Hence every dream and vision of the 
Prophet is also a Wahy Sayyidina Ibrahim $U was 
commanded in this manner to slaughter his son. 


In this kind of Wahy Allah directly speaks to the 
Prophet and there is no interlink with an angel but the 
Prophet does hqar the voice. This voice is entirely different 
from that of any of His creation and imparts a strange 
sensation, the cognition of which is not possible through 
intellect. Only the Prophets who hear this voice can 

13: Abdul 'Aziz Far Hari: al Nabras Ali Sharah-al-'Aqaid pp427, 428, 

printed Amritsar 1318 A'H. 
14: The three kinds are derived from his book, "Faidhul Bari" 

pp 14-18. The nomenclature, classification and explanations are our 

own interpretations. 

• An approach to the Quranic sciences 

recognise the state and ecstatic feeling it imparts. ^^^ 
Since in this kind of Wa&y the Prophets get the honour 
of direct conversation with Allah, this kind is regarded as 
most superior and honorific. That is why in describing 
the high status of Musa (Moses) $0, the Quran States. 

Q£ ^ sin ^3 

And to Musa, Allah spoke directly. (An-Nisa.4169) 


In this kind, Allah sends His message to the Prophet 
through an angel, and that angel conveys it to the Prophet. 
Sometimes the angel is not visible but only his voice is 
heard, and sometimes he comes in a human figure and 
conveys the message, and sometimes he is seen by the 
Prophet in his original form but this happens only rarely. 

The Holy Quran has pointed to the three kinds of 
"Wahy" in the following verse. 

y^r ty - M -;\ a-'j uj ill, tjfe* -j pg j^. & - 

And it is not (vouchsafed) to a mortal that Allah should 
speak to him except by revelation or from behind a veil, 
or that He sends a Messenger to reveal whatsoever He 
will by His leave. (Ash-Shura. 42:51) 

In this verse, inspiration is Wafry .at heart, behind the 
veil means direct discourse and by sending a message is 
meant angelic Wahy. 

15-Madarij-ul. salikeen vl, P 37 by Ibnul Qayyim Matba'tus Sunnatil 
Muhammadiyah, Makkah Mukarramah 1357 AH. 

4/1 approach to the Quranic sciences 39 



Wahy was sent down to the Holy Prophet «$| through 
different means. According to Sayyidah 'Aishah ^u? M ^j 
ly* as narrated in Sahih BukharT Harith bin Hisham 4^> 

once asked the Prophet 3ft about the manner of Wahy sent 
to him. The Holy Prophet *$! said: 

^ (* yg*j* (^-^ °^> yj u^r*" 31 ^"^ JV ( _s~i L ^ L ' 1 ^- 1 

Sometimes I hear the voice like that of ringing bells, and 
I find this kind of Wahy the hardest when this state ends 
all that the voice had said is retained in my memory, and 
sometimes the angel comes to me in the guise of a man. 

(Sahih Bukhari p. 2. vj, Asah-hul Matabe, Karachi.) 

From this Tradition we know of two methods of Wahy 
on the Holy Prophet 5$!. 


The first method was that he used to hear a sound similar 
to the ringing of bells. Since the Tradition mentions only this 
much, we cannot say with certainty in what sense this kind of 
Wahy has been similar to the sound of bells. However, some 
scholars think that it was the voice of the angels while some 
others think that it was the flutter of its wings while bringing 
down the Wahy. Allamah Khattabi is of the opinion that the 
similarity does not relate to the tune of the sound but its 

16. Harith bin Hisham is one of renowned Companion. He accepted 
Islam at the Conquest of Makkah and was martyred at the battle of 
Syria in 15 AH. Al Qastala^ni Irshad-us-Sari vl, p57 Makkah 
Boolaq-the-Misr 1323 AH. 

40 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

continuity. Just as the sound of a ringing bell is continuous 
and it does not break, the sound of Wahy was also 
continuous. 17 But these are all hypothetical views and nothing 
can be said with certainty on the basis of these views. 
However, the explanation given by Allama Anwar Shah 
Kashmiri qouting Hadhrat Mohiuddin Ibn Arabi is more 
subtle than all the others. He states that the simile has been 
used in two respects. First it pertains to continuity of the 
sound as stated above, and secondly in so far as it is difficult 
to ascertain the direction of the sound of a bell continuously 
ringing as it appears to be coming from all directions. Since 
Allah is independent of place and directions. His words are 
heard from all directions. The exact perception of this state is 
not possible without actual observation but the Holy Prophet 
M used the simile of ringing bells to bring it as near 
common understanding as possible. 18 

Anyhow the exact nature of the voice is known to Allah 
or to His Messenger. From the Hadith we only learn that in 
this particular type of Wahy, the Holy Prophet M used to 
hear a voice resembling the sound of bells. We also learn 
that this method of Wafyy used to be the hardest on him. 
s According to Hafiz Ibn Hajar Up Ui <u^, the words % 
yiixii "And it is hardest on me" denote that in fact all types 
of Wahy were hard on the Prophet £g but this particular type 
used to be hardest on him. The reason is that it is necessary 
that there be some sort of harmony between the speaker and 
the listener. Now, if the angel came in human form that was 
not an extraordinary burden on the Prophet $%. Only the 
majestic burden of the words of Allah used to be there. On 
the other hand, if the angel did not come in human form but 
either his voice or directly the words of Allah were heard, 

17. Hafiz Ibn Hajar, Fatahul BarT, VI P 16. Ai Matba'al-Bahiya 

18. Faid-ul-Ba^fvl, P 19, 20 Cairo 1357. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 41 

ili: 1 1 was an extraordinary state and to get familiar with it and 
lo get the benefits from it, the Holy Prophet $& felt much 
greater burden. 19 Sayyidah 'Aishah l$* Jw &\ ^> } added her 
own observation to the foregoing Hadith: 

1 have observed the state of Wahy on him during severe 
cold and yet his forehead used to be drenched with Sweat. 20 

In another narration Sayyidah 'Aishah l^Jwitt^j 
said. Whenever Wahy came to him his breathing became 
difficult, his face turned pale like the twig of date-palm, his 
front teeth began to clatter with cold and he used to sweat 


so much that its drops rolled down like beads. 

This state of Wahy was sometimes so intense that the 
animal on whom he rode could not stand the weight and 
would sit down. 

Once he was resting with his head on the thigh of Zayd 
bin Thabit <f§£b when Wahy began to come, and it caused 
much pressure on his thigh that Sayyidina Zayd *$b thought 
it would crush down. 

In one narration of Musnad Ahmad the Holy Prophet $i 
himself said that in this form of Wahy he feels as if his soul 
was being squeezed out. 

Sometimes a faint sound of this Wahy was heard by otfier 

19. Faid-ul-Bari pl9, 20 v.l Cairo 1357 AH. 

20 SahTh Bukharl, vl.p 2. Hadith No. 2. 

21. Al-Itqan vl:lp46, Cairo 1368 by Suyuti, ref Ibn Sa'eed. 

22.Zad-ul-Ma'ad Fi Khair 'load by Ibnul Qayyim vl, ppl8-19 

Al-Matba Al-Yamaniyyah Egypt. 
23. Al-FathmRabbani (from Musnad Ahmad), reference 'Abdullah bin 
'Amr 4$e> v20. p211, Kitabus seerah Nabaviyah, Hadith No, 42, 
Cairo 1375 AH. 

42 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

people as well/Umar 4b said that a sound similar to humning of 
bees was heard near his face at die time of descent of Wahy. 


The other method of Wahy mentioned in this tradition 
was that the angel used to appear in a human form and 
convey the message. In such a situation, generally Jibrll & 
came in the form of the renowned companion Dihyah Kalbi 
* Allama^Ainy -u^i^j states that the selection of 
Dihyah Kalbi 4b was probably because he was the most 
handsome person of his time. He was so beautiful that he 
used to wrap a cloth round his face when coming out. 25 

However, it is mentioned that sometimes Jibril $B came in 
other appearances too. In the narration of Sayyidina'Umar 4b 
he is said to have come as a total stranger/ 6 because it was 
probably intended that the people be taken by surprise when 
they find him talking informally to the Holy Prophet %. 

However, it is agreed almost unanimously that the angel 
who brought Wahy to the Holy Prophet Muhammad M was 
Jibril J&i the Quran says: 

&f J- '<& # ji>j ^ vtr y. y 

say (O Prophet) Whoever is an enemy of Jibril 3$ (he 
is an enemy of Allah) for surely he is the one who has 
revealed it to your heart... (Al-Baqarah, 2:97) 

From this it becomes apparent that Wahy was generally 
brought to the Holy Prophet gg by Jibril m. However 
Imam Ahmad U* iii ^ has quoted Imam Sha'abi k\ JU^ 
*M that during the first three years of Prophethood 27 Israfil 

24. Same as at 23. v20, p2J2. 

25. 'Umdatul Qlri by Al--Ainy vl, p47. Istanbul 1308 AH. 

26. Mishkatul Masabih vl 1 pi | .Ajahul Matab^a, Karachi. 
27.A1-Itqan vl, p46 Awal Qastalani. Irshad Sari vl, P 59. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 43 

used to bring Wahy but the Quran was not revealed 
through him. It was entirely brought by Jibril 8SBL But 
Allama Waqidi aJp^jia^-j and others have rejected this 
view and maintained that no angel other than Jibril M 
brought any Wafyy to Prophet Muhammad $|. 'Allamah 
Badaruddin 'Ayni' also seems to be inclined to the same 


view, and we also do not find support for this view in any 
authentic Hadith or saying of companions. Hafiz Ibn Hajar 
is, however, inclined to accept this view and places the 


incidence during the period of fatrah; (the period of about 
three years after the first Wahy during which no portion of 
I he Quran w*5 revealed). 

Anyhow, in this manner of Waby the angel used to 
come in human form and in this the Prophet *Jjg did not 
experience much hardship. In one of the narrations in Sahih 
Abu 'Awanah it is stated that the Holy Prophet $6 said: 

And this state was the easiest for me. 30 

In the narration of Sayyidah Aishah Ift* ^Jto ill ^j only 
these two methods of the descent of Wahy are mentioned. 
But from other traditions we come to know of several other 
methods also. Allama Flalimi has mentioned as many as 
46 ways of descent of 32 Wahy. But Hafiz Ibn I-Iajar has 
stated that Halimi has counted the various attributes of 
Jibril 90 as the methods of descent of Wafyy to reach the 

28. Umdatul Qari, vl pp47-48. 

29. Fathul Bari, vl, pp 22-23. 

30. Al-Itqan, vl. p46. 

31. Abu 'Abdulllah Husain bin Al-Hasan Al-Halimi Al-Jurjani (died 
403 AH) whose book Al-Minhaj is a comprehensive book on 
principles of Religion. 

32. Fatah al-Bari vl, pl6 Hafiz Ibn Hajir. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

figure of 46, otherwise the number is not that high. 33 

However, other important ways of descent of Wahy as 
mentioned in other Prophetic traditions, are as follows: 


The third method of Wafyy was that Jibril m came in 
his original appearance but this had happened only three 
times in the lifetime of Holy Prophet $6. First, when he 
himself wished to see the angel in his original form, 
secondly, at the time of Ascension of the Prophet M to 
Heavens, and the third time in the very early days after the 
Prophethood at Ajyad in Makkah. The first two sightings 
are authentic but the last one is doubtful. 34 

4. TRUE DREAMS y £% 

The fourth method of Wafry was that the Prophet & 
used to have dreams before the revelation of the Quran had 
started. Whatever he saw in a dream happened in exactly 
the same manner when he awoke. Sayyidah Aishah k^j 
\&*J\m says: 

, » £ s 

The initial Wahy on the Holy Prophet |g was through 
true dreams. Whatever he dreamt always came out true 
like the morning light. 35 

Also, when a hypocrite of Madinah had performed a 

33. Fatah al-Bari v 1, pl8,19. 

34. Fatah al-Bari v 1, pl8,19. 

35. Sahih Bukhari V 1, P 2 Hadith No. 3. 

In approach to the Quranic sciences 45 

spell on him, it was in his dream that he was informed of it 
uid also of the method of breaking the spell. 36 


Like Sayyidina Musa $$ our Prophet Muhammad M 
also had the privilege of direct discourse with Allah. While 
. 1 wake this happened only on the night of Ascension. Apart 
from this he once had a direct talk with Allah in dream. 


The sixth method of Wahy was that, without appearing 
before him in any Shape, Jibril $$ used to inspire 
something in the heart of the Prophet M In one narration 
l lie Prophet $$ is reported to have said: 

The Holy spirit (Jibril g&) inspired this in my heart. 38 

And the words of the narration of Mustadrak-Hakim 

Jibril 8£1 infused in my heart that none of you would 

depart from this world until he has earned all his 



36. Sahih BukharT, Bab-ul-Sahr, chapter Tib v.2, pp857, 858. 
37.A1-Itqanv:i, P 46. 
38.A1-Itqan, v.l,p46. 

39. Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, Kitabul Buyu\ v2, p4, Daira-tul-Mali-rif 
Daccan. 1340 AH. 

46 An approach to the Quranic sciences 


It has been explained above that Wahy is specific for the 
Prophets M and any other person, irrespective of his spiritual 
status, cannot be a recipient of Wahy. However, sometimes 
Allah does tell certain things to some of His selected 
servants. This is known as Kashf or Ilham each of which is a 
form of inspiration. Mujaddid Alf Thani U*. iui i^-j has stated 
the difference between the two is that Kashf relates to sensory 
abilities, that is, an incidence or a thing is directly visible, 
and Ilham relates to intuitive knowledge where nothing is 
seen but some thought is infused in the heart. That is why 
generally Ilham is more correct than Kashf. m 

The last method of the descent of Wahy, that is, 
inspiration in the heart is apparently very near to Ilham. In 
both of them something is infused in the heart, but the 
difference between the two is that inspiration of Wahy is 
done only to a Prophet and he also gets to know who 
inspired him, as is the case in the above narration of ylkim 
where the Holy Prophet said, Jibril 3$ infused this in my 
heart ... But in Ilham a person does not know who inspired 
him. He only feels that something has come to his heart 
that was not there before. 41 

On this basis the Wahy of the Prophets is absolutely 
certain and must be the obeyed. But the inspiration {Ilham) of 
the saints is not a certain thing hence they form neither an 
argument in matters of faith nor do they become obligatory. 
In fact if one gets an inspiration or dream that is not in 
accordance with the Universally known injunctions of the 
Quran and Traditions it is not considered permissible by any 
authority to act according to its directives. 42 

40. Fayd al-Bari vl , pl9. 

41:A1-Wahy Al-Muhammadi p38, by Rashid Raza. Al-Minar Press 
Egypt 1354 AH. 

42: Ash-Shatbi Up J>i l^-j: AL-A'tisam vl, p351 fol. Al-mana"r, Cairo 
1331 AH. 

I// approach to the Quranic sciences 47 


The Wahy that was revealed to the Holy Prophet 
Muhammad ^ was of two kinds. One, that comprised 
verses of the Quran in which the words and meanings were 
both from Allah, and they have been preserved in the 
Quran forever so that even an iota or dot has not changed 
nor can be changed. This type of Wahy is termed by 
religious scholars as Wahy Matluw that is, the Wahy that is 
recited (Quranic). The second type of Wahy is that which 
does not form part of Quran, but a large number of 
commands and tenets have been sent through it. This type 
is known as non-Quranic Wahy, that is, the one that is not 
recited or Wahy Ghayr Matluw. Generally, only the 
fundamental beliefs and basic teachings of Islam have been 
defined through Wahy Matluw, i.e the Holy Quran. Details 
of these teachings and subsidiary tenets have been sent 
through non-Quranic Wahy. This non-Quranic Wahy has 
been presreved in the form of Traditions (Sayings and 
Deeds) of the Holy Prophet termed as Hadith. Generally, in 
this type of Wahy only the subject matter was revealed to 
the Holy Prophet $H who then expressed it in his own 
43 words. The Holy Prophet ^ has said, 

t - *■ 

I have been given the Quran and with it also other 
similar teachings. 

In this other techings refer to the non-Quranic Wafyy. 

As we have seen subsidiary details of Islamic laws have 
been given through this non-Quranic Wafyy. Therefore, 
there are certain people who though they call themselves 
Muslims yet are intent upon leading a life free of 

43: Al-Itqan vl, p45. 

48 A " approach to the Quranic sciences 

restrictions imposed by Islamic laws. These people make 
the mischievous propaganda that there is nothing like 
non-Quranic Wahy and say that the entire Wahy sent to the 
Holy Prophet M is preserved in the Qurin, and whatever 
commandments other than Quran he gave were in his 
capacity of the Head of State and were applicable only to 
the people of his time, and nowadays it is not obligatory to 
follow them. 

But this idea is totally wrong and ill-founded. We learn 
from several verses of the Holy Quran itself that Divine 
Revelation (Wahy from Allah) is not limited to the Qura"n 
alone, but there are many other things in addition to the 
Quran that have been taught through Wahy. In support of 
this a few verses of Quran are cited below. 

S 5S .,.<-'. S •>' 

And We appointed not the Qiblah which you (O 
Prophet) have had except in order that We might know 
who followed the Messenger from him who turned back 

on his heels. . (AI-Baqarah, 2: 143) 

Every Muslim knows that for a considerable time in 
Madinah the Holy Prophet M observed Salah facing 
towards Baytal-Maqdis (Jerusalem), and the above verse 
was revealed when it was ordained to face Ka'bah again. 
This verse states that the previous order to face 
Baytul-Maqdis was test to know who obeys the order and 
who rejects it. It is noteworthy that the order to face Baytul 
Maqdis during worship has been attributed by Allah to 
Himself meaning thereby that He was the One Who had 
commanded His Messenger to the direction of Baytul 
Maqdis._But the command itself is not found anywhere in 
the Quran. It is clear that this order was given by Allah 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 49 

through a Wahy that is not part of the Quran and which is 
iiiii mentioned anywhere in the Quran. It is this sort of 
Wahy that is termed non-Quranic Wahy. 


*.' ° \+> 

. ° ■ 

Then she informed about it (to the other) and Allah 
disclosed that to him, he had made known (to her) a part 
of it and passed over a part... (Al-Tahritn. 66:3) 

This verse refers to an incident that one of the wives of 
the Holy Prophet Muhammad jig hoped to conceal a certain 
thing from him, Allah revealed it to him through Wahy. So, 
she asked him how he had come to know about it and he 
replied that it was the Knower and the One Everinformed 
who had revealed it to him. This verse clearly shows that 
the particular thing was revealed through Wahy although we 
do not find it in the Quran anywhere. Hence, he was 
informed of it though non-Quranic Wahy. There are many 
other verses that prove the non-Quranic Wahy but only two 
are mentioned here to avoid a lengthy discussion For the 
seeker of truth even two verses are more than sufficient to 
prove that non-Quranic Wahy too. is a kind of Wahy, as 
definite and as binding as Quranic Wahy. 


The above discussion pertains to the essential 
information about Wahy that are proved from the Quran 
and Hadith. We have stated in the beginning that Wahy is a 
form of guidance from Allah in matters that cannot be 
perceived by anyone other than the Prophets f$UJl ,^-Lc- it is 
not possible for others to have a true perception of the state 
and effect of Wahy. That is why these things appear so 
unfamiliar and all those people who are overwhelmed by 

50 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

the world-wide dominance of western thoughts. They look 
at things with doubts and disbelief. Some people even go to 
the extent <>1 open denial of Wahty believing it to be nothing 
but stones and tales. There are some who do not deny it 
openly but. ,n tins era of scientific advancement they feel 
shy of talking about it. It is necessary, therefore, to see the 
position oj Wa/jy vis-a-vis intelligence. 

Before delving over the subject of Wahy any further, we 
should first decide whether there is a Creator and Master of 
this universe or it came into existence all by itself? As for 
those materialists who deny the very existence of God, it 
will be futile to discuss this topic with them because a 
person who does not accept the existence of God will not 
think over the reality of Wahy seriously. Therefore, we 
must first discuss with them the existence of God. But as 
for those who believe in the existence of God, it is not 
difficult for them to understand the intellectual need of 
Wa/jy and its possibility and real existence. 

If the universe has been created by the One and Only 
Omnipotent Being Who runs its well knit and organised 
system through His infinite wisdom, and Who has sent man in 
this world with a specific purpose, how then would it be 
possible for Him to leave him astray in darkness and not even 
tell him why he came into this world what his duties are, what 
is his ultimate goal, and how may he achieve that? Can 
anybody in his senses send forth his servant on an errand and 
not tell him the purpose of this journey when he starts, nor 
make it clear to him through any message afterwards as to 
what he is supposed to do or what his duties are during the 
course of his journey? When an ordinary human being cannot 
be expected to do so how can we say that for Almighty Allah 
Whose Infinite Wisdom is running the entire Universe. How 
is it possible that the All-knowing Who created such an 
amazing system of sun and moon, heavens and earth, stars 

approach to the Quranic sciences 51 

mil planets, will not make any arrangement for establishing a 

• I tunnel to communicate to with His creatures to guide them 

• lout the purpose of their existence? If one believes in the 

All Comprehensive wisdom of Allah he must also admit that 

He lias not left His creatures in darkness but has definitely 

lablished system for their guidance. It is this organised 

stem of guidance that is known as Wahy and Prophethood. 

It should now be clear that Watyy is not merely an 

micle of faith but a religious belief, also a requirement of 

human mind, an intellectual requirement, the denial of 

which is in fact denial of the infinite Wisdom of Allah. As 

for the objection that the various methods of Wahy are 

luyond our comprehension it is not a rational argument 

for not accepting the reality of Wahy. The intellectual need 

.11 id occurence of a thing proved by irrefutable arguments 

cannot be rejected merely because we have not directly 

observed it. If only a few centuries ago someone was told 

that people would be able to cover thousands of miles in a 

few hours by travelling in an aeroplane, he would have 

dismissed the idea as a fairy tale. But did his ignorance 

about aeroplanes made them any the less real? In many of 

the backward areas even today you will come across 

people who are not prepared to accept that man has landed 

on the moon. But does their denial disprove the reality? 

Talk to a villager about the computer system and tell him 

that it works like human brain, he will never believe you. 

But does that in any way affect the existence of 

computors? If the answer is "No" and certainly it is "No", 

then how can the Wahy, the ^intellectual need of which is 

proven and undeniable, and which has been experienced 

by one hundred and twenty four thousand (1,24,000) of 

the most truthful persons, be rejected or disbelieved? And 

then after all where do these methods of Wahy clash with 

reason? If with their limited brains Scientists could invent 

52 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

such marvellous things as telephone, teleprinter, radio and 
television as means of communication, does Allah not have 
enough power to establish a surer and more powerful 
system of communication between Him and His servants 
than all these methods? (We seek the refuge of Allah for 
sayings like that). 

The reality of Wahy is just that Allah reveals His words 
to any of His Messenger directly or through some agency. 
The question is what intellectual reason bars its acceptance? 
We hesitate to cite the example of human inventions or 
action to help understand Wahy, but just to clarify the point 
we are presenting here the example of a human action 
wherein someone captures the mind of another person and 
induces in him whatever thoughts he desires. 

In the terminology of mystics (Saints) this action is 
called possession through the power of thought, or Thought 
Transfer. We find innumerable examples in the biographies 
of the mystics. Through the power of his imagination 
someone prevails over the mind of another person to the 
extent that he makes him speak and do act whatever he 
commands him. The materialists had been rejecting such 
power of dominance for a long time, and following them, 
many Muslims also thought it to be mere fiction, until the 
celebrated Swiss Physicist Mesmer born in the middle of 
18th century, '"selected human mind as the subject of his 
research, and in 1775 AD. disclosed in one of his articles 
that human mind can be subjugated through a magnetic 
process. He called this process as "Anima Magnetism" and, 

44: His full name is Fredric Anton Mesmer. He was born in a place 
near lake contance Switzerland in May 1733. AD. and died at 
Mersemberg in March 1815. Initially, he selected Medicine as his 
subject, but later he became known as inventor of Anima 
Magnetism, and "Mesmerism" is attributed to him (World Family 
^ Encyclopaedia vl2. p3425, published Michigan, USA. 1957) 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 53 

while in France, he also made successful practical 
experiment of this process but he could not fully convince 
his contemporaries. Then another person, James Braid, in 
1842, in England, confirmed the validity of this process on 
y scientific basis and called it as Hypnotism. 

There are different stages according to the Hypnotic 
Theory as propounded by James Braid. In the highest stage 
the entire muscular and nervous systems of the hypnotised 
person become paralysed and senseless and along with this 
l he extrinsic and intrinsic sensations also become idle. But 
there is also an intermediate stage in which the body is not 
paralysed. This effect has been described in World Family 
Encyclopaedia as under: 

*If the hypnotic process is light, the hypnotised 
person remains capable of imagining, various 
objects, for example in such a semi-hypnotised 
state it is quite possible that he may believe 
himself to be a different person or he may begin to 
see certain things that are not there, or feel some 
extraordinary sensations, under suggestions by the 
hypnotiser because he becomes a subject to the 
commands of the latter. " 4:s 

Even the materialists who did not believe in hypnotism 
were convinced after the research and experiments of James 
Braid, and today become a subject of great interest for 
western people. Hundreds of conjurers are making good 
money out of it. It is also being used to treat patients. The 
Thought Force which is known to Muslim mystics for 
hundreds of years which was generally brushed aside as 
superstition has now become a reality in the form of 
Hypnotism. And now even the so-called 'Rationalists/ for 
whom every discovery of the West is scientific and any 

45: The World Family Encyclopaedia 1957 v!2. p3426. 

54 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

extraordinary performance of Muslims a superstition, have 
come to accept it. 

Anyhow, what is emphasised here is whether it is 
Mesmerism or Hypnotism, it is nothing but that one man 
prevails over the mind of the other and infuses his own 
thoughts into the mind of the other person. The question 
now arises that God who bestowed so much power to the 
imaginative faculty or hypnotism to man that he can possess 
the mind of another person for just ordinary purposes and 
sometimes just for nothing, does He not Himself possess 
the power and authority that He may prevail over or 
capture the mind and heart of His Messenger and reveal His 
words to them for the sake of guidance to mankind? 

Glory be to You (Allah!) this is a mighty calumny? 

(Surah Nur. 24:16) 


In the preceding lines we have described that there are 

two kinds of Wa/jy, Quranic Waljy and non-Quranic 

Wahy. In the latter kind, of course, only the subject 

matter used to be from Allah, but in order to express it 

the selection of words was left to the angel Jibril W. or 

the Holy Prophet $£. But it is not so with Quran. Word 

for word, alongwith their meanings, the Quran is the 

direct word of Allah in the literal sense. Just like its 

subject matters, its words, too. are exactly the same as 

they were revealed by Allah Himself. Angel Jibril W< or 

the Holy Prophet ^ had no hand in their selection, 

arrangement or composition. 

Some of those overawed by the objections of the 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 55 

materialists about Wahy\ say these days that only the 
substance of the Quran was sent through Wa/jy which were 
comoposed in their own words (God forbid) by the Angel 
(Jibril *£8) or the Prophet £& 

But this concept is totally false, absurd and against the 
convincing proofs of the Quran and the Ijladitll. 

There are several verses of the Quran itself that clearly 
signify that its words and meanings were both revealed 
from Allah. Some of them are given below; 
1: Quran has descirbed one of its attributes as being 

"Arabic", that is, it has been revealed in Arabic 

language. 4 It is now obvious that if only the 

meanings of the Quran were revealed its being 
4 Arabic M u^p Ji^I <*Jjj\ \j\ would have been 

meaningless because "Arabic" qualifies the words 

and not the meanings. 
2: At several places in the Holy Quran three principal 

duties of the Holy Prophet ^ have been described. 

These are 

who shall recite to them Your revelations, and shall 
teach them the Book and the wisdom, and shall purify 
them. (Al-Buqarali. 2:129) 

It is clear that he was assigned two separate duties. 
First, recitation of the verses of Allah, and secondly, 
teaching their meanings. Obviously, recitation relates to 
words and not meanings, hence his first duty relates to the 
words of the Quran and not to its meanings. 
3: At many, places the Quran has used for itself the 

46. see the Holy Quran. Surah An-nahl. KKKB.Ash-Slu/ara 26:195. 
Yusuf. 13:2. TaHa. 20:113. Ar-Ra'd. 14:39. A/.-Zumar, 39:28. 
HaMim Sajdall 41:3. As-Shura. 42:7. Az-Zukhraf, 24:3. 

56 An approach to (he Quranic .sciences 

word "Al-Kitab (The Book)". The word -Book* does 
not relate to mental thoughts but only when these 
thoughts are transformed into words these may he 
called a "Book". This clearly proves that both the 
words and meanings of the Quran have been revealed 
from Allah. 
4: It is signified from Surah al-Qiyamah that whenever, 
Jibril & came with Wahy the Prophet ^g used to 
repeat the words hurriedly to memorize them. On this 
Allah Commanded him. 

t\..* & 

O4JC Uli-f- J) l-J0 4Jiy> xJU oUly liti 
(O Prophet) move* not your tongue therewith to make 
haste with it (the learning of the Quran), Surely upon Us 
rests the collecting thereof, and the reciting thereof. So, 
when We recite it follow you the reciting thereof. And 
surely upon Us then rests the explaining thereof. 

(A! Qiyamah 75:16-19) 

It is quite clear the words that Jibril &B used to reveal 
to the Prophet were the words of Allah, that is why Allah 
took upon Himself the responsibility for all the three 
things— getting the words memorised, teaching recitation 
and explaining the meaning. 

In the light of such clear proofs the concept that the 
words of Quran were not revealed through Watty becomes 
quite absurd. While commenting on this subject Shaikh 
Muhammad * Abdul" VAzeeni Zarqani has written the 

**At this stage the gist of entire discussion is 
that it is unanimously agreed that both the 
words and meanings of the Quran were 
revealed through Wahy. And the popular 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

conception is that the same holds good about 4^ 
Hadil/i QudsT (Divine non-Quranic^ 
inspirations beginning with the words_" Allah 
said to me..."). However, as tor the Ahadith of 
the Prophet $| only the meanings were 
revealed, but the words were his own. Then, 
as tor such of his sayings as were not revealed 
to him but were his own thoughts, both the 
words and meanings were Prophetic traditions 
and not revealed through Waljy." _ 

In tact those who have denied the words of the Quran 
to be part of Wahy have suffered from a contusion that 
arose because they were unable to understand the reality of 
revelation of words through Waljy. But if the above 
discussion on the reality of Waljy. its intellectual need and 
answers to the mental confusion are kept in view, all doubts 
and confusions are removed. If Waljy is a detinue 
requirement and Allah has full power to send it. how may it 
be said that He could reveal the meanings in the heart ot 
the Prophet M but He is powerless (God forbid) to reveal 

the words? 

II should also be clarified at this point that 

•All amah Badruddin Zarkashi *Js.^'^j and 'A 11 amah 

Suyuti *Js.&\^) have also quoted some people's views 

that they thought that only the subject matters jire from 

Allah while the words belong to the Prophet M or the 

4 »Angel Jibril *SI. But you must have noted that in the 

light of the Quran, Sunitalt. and consensus of scholars, 

with strong arguments in them such views are baseless. 

Even the above authorities have not named the actual 

pe rsons but have only men tioned. "Some people have 

47:Manahil-ul--Irfan Fi 'nl until Quran vl.l. p44 Eisa-Al-babi 

Al-Halabi. Egypt 1322 AH. 
48: Al-Burhan Fi "ulum ul Quran vl. p22». And Al-ltqan vl, p45. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

said" -Allamah Suyuti -a* &\ a^j h as categorically 
refuted them, hence such opinions cannot form the 
basis for this absurd belief. 



The Quran is in fact the word of Allah. Hence it is 
preserved in a Guarded Tablet as expressed in the Quran 

Nay, this is a Glorious Quran, in the Guarded Tablet. 

(Al-Buruj. 85:21-22) 

Then from the Guraded Tablet it was sent down in two 
stages. First, it was sent as a whole to Bayt-ul'Tzzat (The 
House of Honour) on the heaven of this world. Thereafter it 
was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad «H in bits 
according to the needs until it was completed in 
twenty three years. Two words have been used in the Quran 
for its descent: Jijii (Inzal) and Jip (Tanzeel). The former 
means "to send down bit by bit". Hence wherever the 
Quran has used the first word for itself it means the descent 
from the Guarded Tablet to the heaven of this world, eg. 

Surely, We have sent down it in a blessed night 

(Ad-Dukhan, 44:3) 

And wherever the second word is used it signifies the 
revelations made to the Holy Prophet ^§ from time to time. 

60 Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 

Allah has said: 

o i&jS ;t3gj c-fc. jep ^4 Jp g^y sur^ Ji>j 

And this is a Quran that We sent down in piecemeal that 
you many recite it to mankind at intervals, and We have 
sent it down in gradual sending. (Al-Isra, 17:106) 

These two forms of descent of the Quran are apparent 
from the^ verses itself. In addition to this Nasa'i, Hakim, 
Baihaqi, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Tabarani, and Ibn 
Mardawiyah, have quoted several narrations from 
Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas u^p to ^y which affirm that the 
first descent was on the heaven of the earth and the 
second gradually on the Prophet H. 49 


The narrations of Ibn 'Abbas u^p to ^j only indicate 
that first descent took place from the Guarded Tablet to a 
place on the heaven of this world and this place is called 
Bayt-ul-'lzzat also known as Baytul Ma'moor which is 
directly over the Kabah and is the place of worship of the 
Angels. 50 3(L 

How did this descent take place, what was the 
prudence behind it? Nothing can be said about it with 
certainty. However, some scholars, such 'Alfa mall Abu 
Shamah <a* to <^j have stated that the intention was to 
emphasise on the splendour of the Quran, and also to let 
the angels of that place know that it was the last Scripture 
meant to be sent^down for the guidance of the people on 
this earth. Zarqani a~U to ju^-j has made another point 
(Manahil ul Irfan) that the purpose of these two descents 
was to affirm that this Book is free from any doubt about 

49: See Al-Itqan vl_, p41 , chapter 16. 

50: Tahir-ul-KurdT, Tarikh-ul-Quran -wa-GharTb Ismthi wa 
Hi'kmihl, p. 20. Jeddah 1365. AH. 

Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 61 

its Divinity, and apart from the memory of the Holy 
Prophet iH it is also preserved in two other places, Luh 
'Mahfooz (The Guarded Tablet) and Baytul Tzzat. (Allah 
knows the best) 

Anyway, who can encompass the expediencies of 
Allah? He alone knows the many reasons for that and it is 
fruitless for us to investigate these matters. However, we 
have been clearly told that this first descent took place on 
the Night of power. 


There is almost a consensus on that the second 
piecemeal descent of the Quran started when the Holy 
Prophet Muhammad sjjjg was forty years old, and according 
to the accepted view this descent commenced on the Night 
of power. 51 It was the same date on which the battle of 
Badr took place eleven years later. The Quran says: 

> s 

...And in which We sent down upon Our servant 
(Muhammad), on the day of Discrimination, the day on 
which the two hosts met (at Badr). (Al-Anral. 8:41) 

In this way we find the following facts about the 
beginning of the descent of the Quran are proved from the 
Quran itself: 

1 : It started in the month of Ramadan. 
2: It started on the Night of Power. 
3: The battle of Badr took place on the same date. 

However, it cannot be stated with certainty. According 

51: It is popularly known that he was commissioned to the office of 
Prophethood in the month of Rabi-'ul-Awwal through true 
dreams, and this continued for six months whereafter the Quran 
began to be revealed in the month of Ramadan. Al-Itqan vl, p42. 

62 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

to various narrations it could be 17th, 19th or 27th of the 
month of Ramadan/ 



The accepted view about it is that the first few 
verses of the Quran that were revealed to the Holy 
Prophet were the initial verses of Surah al-'Alaq. 
According to Sahih Bukhari Sayyidah Aishah ^^j 
i^ip^bu has stated that the Wahy started as true dreams. 
Thereafter, he got an inner urge for Prayers and 
meditations, and for that he used to spend several days 
and nights in the Cave of Hira until one day Allah sent 
an angel to the Cave, and the first thing he said was 
iyi(Read!) The Prophet replied, "I do not know 
reading." Subsequent event has been described in the 
words of the Prophet^ himself: "The angel then 
embraced me so hard that I was in much difficulty, 
then left me and said again k Read\ I again replied 'I 
don't know reading'. The angel again embraced me 
still harder, and left me and said, 'Read', and I again 
replied, k I do not know reading.' He embraced me a 
third time and left me again and said. 

o f-JrOt aife, 

Read in the Name of your Lord Who created man from a 
blood-clot. Read and your Lord is most Bountiful. 

(AI- fc A!aq, 96: 1-3) 

When he was returning home after the revelation of 
these verses his heart was beating heavily. On reaching 

52: See Tafseer Jam'-ul-bay an by Ibn Jarir, Al-Tabari, vl, p7. 
published Egypt. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 63 

home addressing Sayyidah Khadijah i$& ^^ &\ ^j he 

said, twice j[Jk$*\d&f -> (Wrap me up!) 

A blanket was spread over him until his fear was 
gone. 53 

These were the first verses revealed to him. 
Therefore, a period of three years passed without any 
further revelation. This is known as the period of 
Fatrat-e-Wafyy 9 (period of Wahy). Then again he saw the 
same angel sitting on a chair between the earth and sky, 
and he revealed to him the verses of Surah 
A l-Muddaththir . 

This incidence has been described in all the books of 
fjladith except Bukhari and Muslim with authentic proofs. 
The majority of scholars agree that the first revelation 
consisted of the first few verses of Surah Al-*Alaq, and 
then were the verses of Surah Al-Muddaththir. In this 
context, however, there are three more opinions that 
deserve mention. 

1: It appears from a narration of Ibn Jabir >$& carried by 
Bukhari in Kitabut-Tafseer that the verses of Surah 
Al-Muddaththir were the first to be revealed to him, 
and on this basis some scholars have deduced that these 
verses have preceded those of Surah Al-*Alaq. But 
Hafiz Ibn tfajar 4-1* At ***■_, has explained that the 
narration of Ibn Jabir 4& as quoted in Kitabut Tafseer 
of Bukhari is abridged and two sentences are missing 
from it. The same has been quoted by Bukhari in 
chapter Bad-al-Wahy on the authority of Imam Zuhri 
from Ibn Jabir 4^> wherein the following words have 
been mentioned, 

53: Safcil? Bukhari, chapter * what was the state of Prophet ^ when 
the Wafyy descended . 

64 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

_ '^J'£3\ ^ii >^ 9 \y>~ ^ ;u, l$A jJlLJ 1 - bu ^ 

(So suddenly (I saw) the angel who had come to me in 
Hira was sitting on a chair.) 

It is quite clear that the verses of Surah Al-Alaq had 
already been revealed when those of Surali Muddarhrhirv/ere 
sent down. 54 However, it may be true to say that after the 
period of ' Fatrat-a- Waljy" the verses of Surah 
Al-Muddaththir were the first to be revealed or it was the 
first Surah to be revealed as a whole, because Surah 
Al-'Alaq was not revealed in its entirely in the Cave of Hira. 

Imam Baihaqi has quoted a narration from 'Amr bin 
Hubayl 4& that before the revelation of Wahy the Prophet 
used to tell Khadijah l*tf Ju? &\ ^>j that he heard some one 
calling 'O Muhammad, O Muhammad, whenever he was 
alone, until one day the voice said, "CT Muhammad! In the 
name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. All praise 
belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds ...."to the end of 
the Surah A l-Fatihah . '* 55 / 

On the basis of this narration 'Allamah Zamakhshari 
has written that the first Surah to be revealed is surah 
Al-Fatihah. Rather he has considered it to be the verdict of 
most of the commentators.' 56 But Hafiz Ibn Hajar Mi**j 
*Js- has refuted him and stated that Zamakhshari is wrong in 
saying so and there are only few scholars who concur with 
him and most of the commentators have maintained that the 
first few verses of Surah -al-'Alaq were the first to be 
revealed. 57 

54: Fathul Bari, p23, vl for further details see Faid ul B-ari p25, vl. 

and Al-Itqan pp. 24-25, vl . 
55: Al-Itqan p25. vL_ f 

56: A! -Zamakhshari: Al-Kishaf-An-Haqa-iq Ghawamed-ut-tanzeel 

p775 v4 Al-Istiqama Press Cairo 1365 AH. 
57: Fath al Bari p580.v8. Kit ah-ut-tafseer. Surah Iqra '. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 65 

As far as the foregoing narration of Bayhaqi is 
l oncemed, he has himself written that if this is correct then 
ii is possible that this incident may have occurred after the 
revelations of Surah al-'Alaq and Surah Muddaththir. 58 
'Altamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri has stated that it is possible 
that Surah Al-Fatihah was revealed twice as was the case 
with some other verses once before Surah Al-'Alaq and a 
second time after that. In that case it will have to be 
admitted that the first revelation of Surah Al-Fatihah was 
not made as Quranic revelation but the angel had simply 
recited it, and later on it was revealed as part of the Quran 
at the time destined for it. 59 Anyway, except for these three 
narrations all other traditions are unanimous that the first 
few verses of Surah al-'Alaq were the first to be revealed. 
'Aliamah SuyutT has quoted several narrations in support of 
this view.' 60 


You must have observed that the titles of various Surahs 
of Holy Quran denote a Surah to be "Makkan" or 
"Madman" . It is essential to know the exapt interpretation of 
these words. Most of the commentators believe that a 
"Makkan" verse means a verse revealed before the Prophet's 
Sjjl arrival in Madinah on his migration from Makkan. Some 
people think that Makkan means a verse revealed in the city 
of Makkah, and Madinan means the one revealed in 
Madinah. But most of the commentators maintain that this 
view is incorrect because there are several verses which were 
not revealed in Makkah, but because they were revealed 
before Hijrah (Migration) they are classed as Makkan. Hence 
the verses revealed at Mina, 'Arafat and during Mi'raj and 



Al-Itqanp25, vl. 
FaydulBarip25, vl 

66 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

even during the journey of migration to Madinah are classed 
as Makkan verses. Similarly, there are many verses which 
were not revealed in Madinah yet they are called Madinan. 
The Prophet $$$ undertook several journeys after migration in 
which he even travelled hundreds of miles away from 
Madinah yet all those verses that were revealed in those 
places have been classed as Madinan, so much so that even 
the verses that were revealed in the very city of Makkah or 
its surrounding during the conquest of Makkah or treaty of 
Hudaibiyah 61 are classed as Madinan. Hence the verse... 

" -* 

Surely Allah commands you (O Believers) that you 
restore the trusts to their owners.... (An-Nisa, 4:58) 

as Madinan although it was revealed In Makkah. 62 
In short, although the classification of Makkan and 
Madinan gives the impression that it is based on the place 
of revelation, in fact it relates to the time of revelation. 
Verses revealed before the completion of Migration are 
called Makkan, and those after that are Madinan. 

Although the Holy Prophet $§ is not known to have 
himself classified a verse or a surah as Makkan or 
Madinan. Yet his companions and their followers, who had 
devoted their lives to the safeguard the words and meanings 
of the Quran have pointed out as to which of them are 
Makkan and which Madinan. For example, 'Abdullah bin 
Mas 4 ud «*§&> has said, "I swear by the Being besides Whom 
there is none worthy of worship that I know about every 
verse of the Quran about whom it was revealed and where 
was it revealed". 63 And Sayyidina AH $$> said, "By Allah, 

61: For details see Al-burh an-fi-'uloomil Quran p88, vl, 9th 

62: Manahil-ul-'Irfanpl88, vl. 
63: Al-Itqanp9, Bukhari. 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 67 

I know about every verse whether it was revealed at night 
■ •i during daytime, in the plains or over the moutains." 64 

Mostly it had been these companions of the Prophet ^ 
who told about the Surahs and verses of the Quran whether 
i hey were Makkan or Madinan. However, we get 
Information from some other sources as well. For example, 
Hie verses describing the incidence of Badr could only be 
Madinan. Similarly, most of the verses wherein the Prophet 
•$£ has been asked to address the idolaters of Makkah could 
only be classed as Makkan. Hence some of verses have 
been classified on the basis of such evidences and 
Conjectures. But since conjecture might vary there have 
resulted some differences of opinion among the 
commentators about some of the verses in this respect^ some 
of them classify a verse or surah to be Makkan and some 
others as Madinan. 

Then there are some Surahs which are wholly Makkan or 
wholly Madinan. For example. Surah al-Muddaththir is 
wholly a Makkan Surah and Surah Al-lmran is entirely 
Madinan. It has also occurred that a Surah as a whole is 
Makkan but contains one or more Madinan verses. For 
example, Surah Al-A 'raf is a Makkan Surah but the verses 
from jpQ\ %'j&&- cjisT ^ j&ali ji- J^Tlj'j to g» £1 ^fttf 'd$j &■> ijj 
are Madinan; or it may be the other way round for example 
Surah Al-Hajj is Madinan but four of its verses from &Jj&j 

or* 1 fr) "i ls* ^J Jj-O Of ^* O? to * M?* fji **'*•& are Makkan 

It also becomes clear that classification of a Surah as 
Makkan or Madinan is based on the majority of its verses 
but in some cases a Surah has been classed as Makkan 
because its initial verses were revealed before Migration 
although the subsequent verses were revealed after 
Migration. 65 

64: Al-Itqan, p. 187, v2 80th edition. Ref. Mu'ammar. 
65: Manahil 4 ul-Irf an vl, pi 92. 

68 An approach to the Quranic sciences 



After a logical analysis the commentators of the Quran 
have described certain attributes of the various Surahs 
through which one can find at a glance whether a particular 
Sruah is Makkan or Madinan. Some of these are rigid rules 
while others are valid most of the time. The rigid rules are: 
1: Every such Surah which has the word \& (certainly 
not) in it is a Makkan Surah. This word has been used 
33 times in 15 Surahs and all such occur in the second 
half of the Quran. 
Allama Deereeni a-Ap *»i i^- j composed this complet 

**£ was not revealed at Madinah and it does not occur in 

the first half of the Quran. 

2: Every Surah containing a verse about Sajdah is a Makkan 
Surah. This rule is based on Hanafi school of thought 
because according to them there is no verse of Sajdah in 
Surah Hajj but according to Imam Shafa'T there is a verse 
of Sajdah in this Surah while it is Madinan Surah, hence 
this would be an exception to the rule. 663 

3: Every Surah, with the exception of Surah al-Baqarah, 
which relates the story of Sayyidina Adam I&P and 
Iblis is Makkan. 

4: Every Surah in which a permission of Jihad or its in 
junctions are given is Madinan. 

5: Every Surah is Madinan wherein there is a mention of 
hypocrites. Some scholars have exempted Surah. 
'Ankabut from this rule. But in fact this Surah on the 
whole is Makkan but the verses that mention hypocrites 
are Madinan. 66b 

66a: This characteristic is derived from al-Itq an and other sources. It 
conforms to the contention that surah al-Hajj is Makkan but if we 
go by certain Sah ibis and Tabi' in that it is Madinan then surah 
Hajj is an exception to this ruling. (Maulana Taqi Usmani) 

66b:Mariahil al 'Irfan, p!91, vl. 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 69 

The following characteristics are general and frequent, 

but sometimes it may happen the other way about. 

I: In Makkan Surahs people have been generally 

addressed as ^Ut l^jb (O mankind) while in Madinan 

Surahs they have been addressed as *y* * jt^ \&\i (O you 

who believe). 

2: Makkan Surahs and verses are generally short and 

concise while Madinan verses and Surahs are long and 


3: Makkan Surahs generally deal with affirmation of 

oneness of Allah, Prophethood, Hereafter, picturising 

the. Resurrection, words of comfort for the Holy 

Prophet ?§i and the events concerning the previous 

nations. And, there are very few injunctions and rules 

in these Surahs. Contrary to this Madinan Surahs deal 

with social and family laws, injunctions relating to 

Jihad hudud (limits) and duties. 

4: Makkan Surahs mostly speak of confrontation with 

idolaters, while Madinan Surahs with the people pf the 

Book and hypocrites. 

5: The style of the Makkan Surahs is more elegant. They 

contain more siinilies. metaphors, allegories and 

parables, and a large vocabulary is used. The Madinan 

Surahs have a comparatively simple style. 

The difference in mode and style of the Makkan and 

Madinan Surahs result from a difference in environment and 

addressees. In the Makkan stage Muslims were confronted 

mostly with the idolaters af Arabia as no Islamic state existed 

then. Hence, great emphasis was laid on restoration of Faith 

and Belief, moral reforms, arguments for refiiting idolatry and 

on the miraculous status of the Holy Quran. Contrary to this. 

Islamic state had come into existence in Madinah. The people 

were coming into the fold of Islam in increasing numbers. 

Idolatry had been confuted on the literary level, and the entire 

70 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

ideological confrontation was now against the people of 
Scriptures (Jews and Christians). For this reason greater 
emphasis was laid on laws and commandments, Rights and 
Duties and refuting the false innovation of the people of 
Scriptures. The mode and style was adopted accordingly. 

Every upright person can easily understand this 
difference in the style and description of Quranic 
injunctions in the light of the evolution in human 
environments. But certain Orientalists whose hearts are 
kindling with the fire of enmity with Islam have tried to 
deduce self-conceived conclusions from the difference in the 
style of Makkan and Madinan verses and Surahs.. Hence, 
some of them conclude that the Quran is the work of the 
Prophet $i because its style varies according to changing 
environment. If it was the word of Allah its style and mode 
would not have varied with change in the surroundings. 

Anyone having the slightest sense of justice and 
rationalism in his heart would realise the absurdity of this 
objection. The true spirit of eloquent and laconic 
discourse is that it should correspond to the needs of its 
environment and the person addressed. Sticking to one 
rigid mode and style in all kinds of enviroments and 
varying types of addressees would be distasteful in the 
extreme, betraying an ignorance even of the fundamental 
principles of a linguistic style. Only those who are given 
to raise objections for the sake of criticisug attribute such 
distaste to the words of Allah. 67 

67: For details see Manahil-ul-hf an ppi98 to 232 by Shaikh Zarq ani. 

in approach to the Quranic sciences 7/ 


Apart from the classification of Quranic verses into 
Makkan and Madinan the commentators have classified 
them also according to time and place of their revelation. 
I or example, Hadrl verses are the ones that were revealed 
when the Prophet S§ was staying at home and not 
(ravelling. Most Quranic verses fall in this category. Sofrl 
verses are those revealed during the travels, for example. 68 

was sent down during conquest of Makkah. "Allama 

SuyutT has counted about forty such verses. 69 In addition, 

he has given the following classification too: 

I : Nahari (Day-time) revelations: These are the verses 
that were revealed in day light. According to Alfa ma 
Ibn Habib, most verses belong to this category. 

2: Layla (Nightly) revelations: These are the verses that 
were revealed at night. For example, the last few verses 
of Surah Aal Imran (v. 198 to 200) beginning with JJ\ 
- ***M JjV c^.V ji^Jij, JJJ. <>***j >j^j ^ jUft ji*. were 
revealed at night. Allama SuyutT has mentioned twelve 
more examples in this category in Al-Itqan. 
3: Sayfi (Summer) revelations: These are the verses that 
were revealed during summer. For example, the last 
verse of Surah an-Nisa: 

* fa * 

According to a Hadith related by Sayyidina Umar <$£> and 
found in Sahih Muslim, the verse was revealed in Summer. 
According to another tradition these verses were revealed on 

68: An-Nisa. 4:58. 

69: Al-Itqan, pp 1 9 to 21 , v 1 . 

72 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

the occasion of the Farewell Hajj. Thus all other verses 
revealed at that occasion are summer verses, e.g. 

(Al-Ma'idah) '^A? {*■& cullSl ^j2\ 

4: Shiia'i (Winter) revelations: These are the verses that were 
revealed during winter for example, the verses of Surah 

^M l> «£~^ : U^Si *£•* ^k fj&r iAjS J] 

p\«j^Ji) O ^a& ^>\Js- <d J*4-^* °'^f ^y *■£,} 

which condemn the slanderers of Sayyidah 'Aishah ^>j 
iy* Jw iii were revealed during winter as has been narrated 
by 'Sayyidah Aishah i$* ju? J»t ^j herself as stated in 
Sahih Bukhari. Similarly, the verses of Surah Al-^Ahzab 
about the Battle of Trench are winter revelations because 
this battle was fought in winter. 

5: Firashl Revelations in bed. These are the verses that 
were revealed when the Prophet was lying on his bed, 
for example, of Surah Al-Maaidah ^tft y £U*»g &>j 
(verse 70). "Allamah Su'yuYF has mentioned two more 
examples of this type of verses. 
6: Nawmi (Revelations during sleep): Some scholars have 
described certain verses as having been revealed during 
the Prophet's «H sleep. In this connection they quote a 
narration from Saliih-Muslim wherein Sayyidina Anas 
«i$& has stated "The Holy Prophet $g was once sitting 
among us when he suddenly got a wink of sleep, and 
thereafter he raised his head, smiled and said that a 
Surah has just been revealed to him, and then he 
recited Surah Al-Kauthar." 
But the truth is that no verse was revealed to the 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 73 

Prophet «|§ during his sleep. The state of sleep referred to 
in the foregoing incidence is called 3jiip\ in Arabic. Imam 
U.ila'T aJp &\ a-^-j and others suggest that it was not sleep 
but a particular condition peculiar to the Prophet «$g 
generally experienced whenever Wahy was sent to him. 
Therefore it is wrong to presume that Wahy descended 
while he was asleep Altama SuyutT *J* «&* ^=-j concurs with 
Imam Rafa'T 4^ «&t W- j 70 

7: Samavi (Revelations on the Heavens): These are verses 
that were revealed during the Holy Prophet's Ascention 
(Mi' raj). In this connection we find only one narration 
in Sahih Muslim according to which the last few verses 
of Surah al Baqarah were revealed during this journey 
near Sidrat-ul-Muntaha. 11 
8: Fida 1 (Revelations on the air); l Altamah Ibn 'Arabi 
has described another type of revelation that was sent 
down neither on earth nor on the sky (but somewhere 
in the atmosphere). According to him, three verses of 
Surah as-Saffat, V» u^ Ujand one verse of S~urah 
az-Zukhruf, u£j 'j? &£S 'j» <&) 'c/> Ut*tj belong to this 
category. But 'All amah SuyutT *-Xp fa W-j has stated 
that he could not find any authentic proof for this kind 
of revelation. 

70: Al-ltqanvl, p23. 
71: Al-ltqanvl 1, p24. 


It has been mentioned earlier that the Quran was not 
revealed on the Holy Prophet ^g instantly or all at a time, 
Inn it was sent down bit by bit over a period of 
twenty-three years. Some times Jibril &3s& came with a 
ingle verse or even a small portion of a verse, and 
lometimes several verses were revealed at one time. The 
Smallest portion of the Quran to be revealed wag; jfil* ^J j* j£ 
lAn-Nisa 4:94) which is a piece of a large verse, while, on 
I he other hand the entire Sura/? At-Anfiiit was revealed all at 
one time. 72 

Due to a quotation of Ibn-Asakir some scholars have 
got an impression that Jibril &B did not bring more than 
live verses at a time. But "AIlaYna SuyutT *Js> *»i i*^-j has 
refuted this view and stated that more than five verses have 
been revealed on occasions. For example, it is known from 
authentic Ahadith that ten verses were revealed together at 
the time of case of Ifk (Slander). What actually happened 
was that Jibril $3 used to make the Prophet ^g memorise 
five verses at time. When he memorised five verses, he 
would recite him more verses. Hence (mam Baihaqi has 
quoted Abul "Aliyah *J*4i*\*+*-j as saying "Learn five verses 
of the Quran at a time because the Holy Prophet $§ used to 
memorize five verses at a time from Jibril ^i.' 73 

Why was the Quran revealed in piecemeal rather than 
all at a time? The question was asked by the polytheists of 
Arab themselves from the Prophet ji because they were 

72: Tafseer Ibn KathTr v2. pt22. 

73: For a complete discussion refer to Al-Ilq ail vl. p44. 

76 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

used to hearing long eulogies in one sitting, and piecemeal 
revelations were rather astonishing for them. Apart from 
this, even before Quran, other divine Scriptures namely 
Torah, Zaboor and Injeel were revealed each as a 
complete Book all at a time, the piecemeal method was 
not adopted in their case. Allah has Himself provided the 
answer to this question in the following words: 

qJj>-\\ a£J>- jlyaJl aIIp "Sy lTjJ fjS&~ J*jM* J^J 

O <°jJjf> 'J~^'s *>^ iiii- U] 

And those who disbelieve say. "Why has not the Quran 

been sent down on him all at once?'" Thus, (We send 

down) that We may strengthen your heart (O Prophet) 

thereby; and We have rehearsed it to you in a well 

arranged gradual rehearsal. And they come not to you 

(O Prophet) with a similitude but that We bring to you 

the Truth (against it), and the best explanation. 

(Al-Furqan. 25:32-33) 

[mam Razi has presented several reasons for the 
gradual revelation of the Quran in his exegesis of the above 
verse. Let us go through a summary of his presentation; 
1: The Holy Prophet Muhammad ^ was unlettered. He 
could not read or write, hence if the entire Quran was 
revealed all at a time it would have been difficult to 
memorize it. Contrary to this Sayyidina Musa W& knew 
reading and writing Torah hence was given to him as a 
complete Scripture in one go. 
2: If the entire Quran was revealed all at a time, it would 
have become obligatory to obey all Commandments at 
once and this would have been against the wisdom that 
has been one of the objectives of Shah 'ah. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 77 

3: The Prophet «H was being subjected to fresh torture 
every day. Frequent revelations of the Quran through 
Jibril #331 made it easy for him to face these tortures 
and became a source of sustaining his spirit. 

4: A great part of the Quran deals with answers to 
questions of the people and various events at different 
times. Hence, revelation of those verses in their 
relevant backgrounds were more expedient and 
enhanced the insight of the .believers. When the Quran 
exposed that which was unseen, its truth became more 
manifest. 74 


It has been stated earlier that the Quran was not 
revealed to the Holy Prophet «jjlg in the order as it exists 
today. The order of its revelation was different and in 
accordance with the needs and cirumstances of particular 
times. As soon as a verse was revealed the Prophet <H 
used to dictate it to the scribes and instruct where exactly 
to place it and the Surah wherein to write it. They would 
write it at the place shown by the Prophet $g. No attempt 
was made either by the Prophet $H or by his companions 
c$p to preserve the chronological order of the revelations 
Hence nobody remembered the order of revelations when 
it was completed. Hence we may have a partial knowledge 
of the order of revelation of certain Surahs or verses, but 
the chronological order of the entire Quran cannot be 
ascertained with authenticity. In his book Al-Itqan, 75 
A llama SuyutT has attempted to fix a chronological order 

74: At-tafseer-ul-KabTr Imam Ar-Razi v6, p336 Al-Matba al 

'A~mira 1324 AH. 
75: Al-Itqan vl , pl-12 A book by an unknown scholar of Andulus has 

been referred to by Arthur Mubider as giving true chronological 

order but that is not reliable. 

78 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

of revelation of the Surahs with reference to certain 
traditions or narrations, but in fact they only affirm which 
Surah is Makkan and which is Madinani the chronological 
order cannot be established. Recently some orientalists 
have also tried to establish the order of revelations. First 
of all the well known German Orientalist Noldeke 76 
started working on it. Thereafter it became a subject of 
great interest with other orientalist. William Muir 77 has 
also, made an individual attempt in this regard. In fact. 
J.M. Rodwell in his English translation of the Quran has 
arranged the Surahs in the hypothetical chronological 
order of Noldeke rather than their popular order. 78 In 
early twentieth century. Hartwig Hirs.chfeld tried to 
establish a chronological order of not only the Surahs but 
also the verses of the Quran. 79 In addition to this, Regis 
Blachere 80 also understook this task on his French 
translation. Richard Bell 81 has also gained popularity for 
this in the west. Orientalists are still at work in this 
direction. And perhaps being influenced by them, 
Muslims also have undertaken research on the 
chronological order of revelation. 82 

But in our view all these attempts are akin to spending 
time on a problem that can never be successfully resolved. 
All the work done by the orientalists is mostly based on 
their personal conjecture about the text. Since the 

76: Noldeke, Theodore, Geschichte des Qui" ans, Gottingen 1860. 

77: Muir. William, The Life of Muhammad. 

78: Rodwell, J.M. The Koran (translated) London 1953. 

79: Hirschfold, Hartwig, New Researches into the composition and 

exegesis of the Quran (1902). 
80: Blachere, Regis Coran traduction selom unessai de reclassement 

des sourates, Paris 1947-51. 
81: Bell, Richard, Translation of the Quran (1937-39) 
82: Yaqub Hasan, Kashaf-ul-Huda. pi 75 to 182, Daftar Ishaat, 

Madras 1343 A.H. 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 79 

conjectures differ one from the other the orders described 
by each of them are also different. Hence, no useful 
inferences can be derived from these conjectures despite all 
possible efforts. 

In fact all these efforts of the orientalists are motivated 
by ^particular bias in their minds. They think that the 
Quran is still disarranged, and its true arrangement is the 
order in which it was revealed, but instead of writing it in 
the form of a book it was written on different materials and 
hence the original order could not be retained. Rodwell has 
written in the Preface of his translation of the Quran that 
the present order of verses and Surahs of the Quran is due 
to the fact that Zayd bin Thabit 4& arranged them in the 
order in which he received them from various sources, and 
hence chronological order could not be retained. 83 

In his opinion; therefore, the present arrangement is 
defective which he wants to correct through his 
"Research". The picture thus drawn is not only imaginary 
but totally against undeniable facts because the order of 
arrangement of the Quri~nic verses is proved by Wahy 
without any difference of opinion. Sayyidina Uthman 4^e> 
has stated that the Prophet <$£ used to give clear instructions 
to his scribes to place a fresh revealed verse in a particular 
Surah next to such and such verse. 84 And the companions 
i$& memorised them in that very order that was shown by 
the Prophet «$£. It is absolutely wrong to say that Zayd <$&> 
wrote them in the order in which he received them from the 
companions. If that were so, the last verse in the existing 
Qur'an would have been 

83: Rodwell^ J. M., The Koran (Translated) London 1953, p2 
84: Fathul Bari, RefSunan Arb'a and Musnad Ahmed, v9, ppl8 

80 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

because this was the last verse received by Zayd <$& but 
it has been inscribed in Surah Al-Afyzab. This makes it clear 
that Zayd <$£& and his colleagues used to put a verse in the 
place indicated by the Holy Prophet s|g. However among 
learned people there are two opinions about the 
arrangement of Surahs. Some say that this, too laid down 
by Wafyy, while others maintain that the Surahs were 
arranged by the companions according to their 
understanding. More appropriate seems to be the fact that a 
number of Surahs were arranged according to Wafyy but no 
clear cut instructions were available about some of them, 
such as Surah Tawbah which was placed after Surah Anfal, 
according to the opinion of the companions. 85 


There are two kinds of verses of the Holy Quran. The 
first kind of verses are those that Allah sent down on His 
own without reference to an incident or enquiry by anyone. 
The second kind comprised verses that were revealed in 
reference to an incident or an enquiry. This is termed as the 
background or cause of revelation of such verses. For 
example, the following verse of Surah Baqarah. 

'^y Jz>- 1^$+ A>Uj ^jJ i J^>- olS^JU^Jl \j>x£j5 Uj 

Marry not the mushrikafc, 86 until they believe; and 
surely a believing slave girl is better than a mushrikah 
even though she please you. (Al-Baqarah, 2:221) 

This verse was revealed in reference to a particular 
incident. In the pre-Islamic days Marthid bin Abi Marthid 
Ghanavi 4^&> had relations with a woman named ! Anaq. After 

85: For details see Fathul B ari.pp 32 to35 chap. T alTful Quran. 
86: Ai-Wahidi P.38. Mustafa Al-Babi Asb abul-Nuzool. Egypt 1379. 

fill approach to the Quranic sciences 81 

embracing Islam he migrated to Madinah and the woman 
remained in Makkah. After some time Marthid 4§& went to 
Makkah on some business and 'Anaq invited him to fornication 
but he refused on the ground, "Islam has come between me 
and you". However, he was willing to marry her if the 
Prophet, «|jg allowed him. On return to Madinah he sought 
permission of the Prophet SI for this. This verse was revealed 
on that occasion prohibiting marriage with a Mushrikah 
(Idolatress). 87 This incident, therefore, forms the cause or the 
background of revelation of this verse. 


Some people whose knowledge is not deep enough to 

get a true cognition of such matters deny the importance of 

background of revelations and argue that the Quran itself is 

self-explanatory and one should not feel the need for the 

causes or backgrounds of various revelations for their 

explanations. But they are wrong in thinking in this 

manner. Knowledge of the causes of revelations is an 

essential condition for exegesis of the Quran, and it has 

many advantages some of which are mentioned here. 

1: 'Alfamah* Zarkashi'*-l*i»ii*^j states that the first 

advantage of the knowledge of causes of revelation of a 

verse is that through them we understand the prudence 

behind various Commandments, and we know why a 

particular injunction was promulgated? 88 For example, 

in Surah an-Nisa it is .ordained, 

^J&L jjslj SliUil IjJ^J U l£! &M 0* 

O you who believe! Draw not near Salah while you are 
intoxicated. (An-Nisa, 4:43) 

87: Polytheists. 

88: Az-Zarkashi: Al-Burhan fi 'uloomal Quran, vl, p22. Esa Al-Babi 
1376 AH. 

°2 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

If we do not keep in view background of revelation of 
this verse, the question would naturally arise in our minds 
that when intoxication is totally prohibited by the Quran 
what does this verse mean by disallowing Salah in a state of 
intoxication. The answer to this question can only be found 
in the background of its revelation. It is stated by Sayyidina 
*AIi 4& that 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf 4&> once invited 
some companions to dinner. Drinking had not been 
prohibited until that time, and hence wine was served after 
dinner. Meanwhile the time for Salah came and one of the 
companions led the Salah and because he was intoxicated, 
he made a mistake in the recitation of the Quran. The 
above verses were revealed after this incident. 89 
2: Often it is not possible to understand the true meaning 
of a verse without knowing the background of its 
revelation. If the background is unknown, a totally 
wrong meaning may be deduced. A few examples shall 
make it clear. 
In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah says: 


And to Allah belong the East and the west, so 

withersoever you turn, there is Allah's countenance. 

(Al-Baqarah, 2:115) 

If the background of this verse is not kept in view one 
may deduce that in Salah there is no obligation to face 
towards a particular direction but this inference is wrong 
because at another place the Quran itself has enjoined that 
Muslims must face towards K'abah during Salah. 

This problem can only be solved through the 
background of revelation of this verse. 'Abdullah bin 

89: Tafseer Ibn KathTr, vl, p500, Matba'tul Mustafa Muhammad 
1356 AH. 

Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 83 

'Abbas u^p Jboin^j states that on the occasion of change 
of direction of Qiblah of Muslims from Bayt-ul-Maqdis to 
K'abah the Jews objected to the change in Qiblah. This 
verse was revealed in the context of this objection 90 , stating 
that all dicrections belong to Allah and He is Omnipresent 
hence it becomes obligatory to face in the particular 
direction commanded by Him. There is no room for 
conjectures in this matter. 

Similarly in the following verse, stated: 

' * * .* ■* " 

CJi r- ^=r <Zj\&JiL*aA\ \jL*sSj \j^a\ ^j-i-il l _ $ ii- ^-J 

On those who believe and do righteous deeds there is no 
blame for what they may have eaten (in the past) 
provided they abstain (from the forbidden things), and 
believe (firmly). (Al-Mardah, 5:93) 

If we study this verse only in its apparent meanings, it 
may be inferred that there is no food which is prohibited for 
Muslims if they are believers and fear Allah and do good 
deeds. In that case, they are free to eat and drink all that they 
desire. And since these verses were revealed in association 
with the verses that prohibited intoxication it can be said that 
it allows alcoholic drinks and other intoxicants to virtuous 
believers. Even some companions have misunderstood this 
verse and they had argued with Sayyidina Umar 4^ that a 
person charged with drinking cannot be subjected to Ijtadd* 1 
if his life in general had been a pious life. Ibn 'Abbas *^> 
removed their misunderstanding by referring to the context in 
which the verse was revealed. 92 

90: Al-Itqan, vll, pp 19 to 21. 
91 : Hadd: specific Qur ahic punishment. 

92: Al-Qurtabi: Al-Jami ' 1-Ahkam-al-Qur an v6, p297, Cairo 1387 

84 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Actually, some companions had wished to know the fate 
of the departed Companions who had indulged in gambling 
and drinking before they were forbidden. 

This verse was revealed in reply to this question and is 
specific to this incident. 

It clarifies that those who had indulged in drinking and 
gambling before the ban would not be punished for that if 
they were believers and had obeyed other commands. 93 

Here is another example. In Surah Baqarah it is stated: 

Surely Safa and Marwah are among the emblems of 
Allah: So whosoever performs the Hajj to the House (of 
Allah) or performs Umrah, there is no blame on him if 
he goes around them. (Al-Baqarah, 2:158) 

In this verse the words "there is no blame on him" 
apparently signify that the "Run" between Safa and 
Marwah as a rite of Hajj or 'Umrah is only permissible 
but not obligatory.' 'Urwah bin Zubair 4&> had the same 
misunderstanding. Sayyidah 'Aishah I44* Jus isi ^j told 
him that there used to be two idols kept on the top of 
these hills. One was called Asaf and the other's name was 
Na'ilah and due to this the companions fell into doubt lest 
the "Run" (Sa'ee) may have been forbidden. This verse 
was revealed to remove their doubt. 94 

These are a few examples but many more can be cited 
to indicate that there is a good number of verses which 
cannot be properly understood without the knowledge of 
their background. 

93: Ibid,_v2, 294 

94: Manahil-ul-'Irfanvl, pl04 (Ref, Bukhari). 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 85 

3: At times Quran uses words which have a close relation 
to the context in which they were revealed, and if their 
exact background is not known these words would 
appear irrelevant, and that would spoil the eloquence 
and laconic beauty of the Quran, for example, the 
following verses: 

And as for your women who have despaired of 
menstruation if you are in doubt, their waiting period is 
three months, and of those* too who have not yet 
menstruated... (At-Talaq, 65:4) 

In this verse the words "if you are in doubt" appear to 
be irrelevant and hence some people deduced from these 
words that an old woman who has stopped menstruating 
and it is certain that she is not pregnant, for her there is no 
period (of waiting). 

But the cause of its revelation clarifies the reason for 
these words. Ubayy bin Ka fc ab «$jb has stated that at the 
time the period of waiting was prescribed in Surah 
An-Nisa, he asked the Holy Prophet $g, "There are some 
women for whom this period has not been defined in the 
Quran, such as small girls who have not yet started 
menstruating, and old women who have stopped 
menstruating and pregnant women. This verse was revealed 
in this context, and it has covered all three kinds. 

Further, in Surah al-Baqrah it has been stated: 


95: Al-Itqan, vl,p30. 

96: TafsTr Ibn KathTr vl4. p381 . 

86 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

And when you have performed your devotional rites, 
remember Allah, like your remembrance of your 
forefathers... (Al-Baqarah. 2:200) 

If we do not keep in view the background of revelation 
of this verse the pharse "like your remembrance of your 
forefathers" would appear irrelevant, because it is difficult 
to understand why on this particular occasion Allah's 
remembrance should be compared to that of the forefathers. 
But the background of its revelation makes it clear. This 
verse has been revealed in connection with the rites of stay 
of pilgrims in Muzdalifah. It was customary with the pagan 
Arabs that after fulfilling the devotional rites of Hajj they 
used to boast about the virtues and achievements of their 
forefathers. Allah ordained that instead of boasting about 
forefathers they should remember and glorify Allah. 97 
4: There are many places in the Quran where a passing 

reference is made to a particular incident, and such 

verses cannot be understood unless that incidence is 

known, for example: 

And you (O Prophet) threw not when you did throw (a 
handful of dust), but Allah threw, it .... (Al-Anfal. 8:17) 
Here, there is a reference to the battle of Badr when the 

Prophet m had thrown a handful of dust towards the enemy 

who had besieged the Muslims, and the dust grains went 

into their eyes and the siege was lifted. 98 

It is quite obvious that one will not understand the true 

meaning of this verse without knowing this background. 
It is not intended here to describe all the benefits of 

studying the causes or backgrounds of particular verses but 

97: See Asbabun-Nuzul Iil-Wahidip34. 
98: Asbafc-un-nuz ul-lil-Wahidi pl33. 

\ti approach to the Quranic sciences 87 

i ho foregoing examples must have highlighted their 
importance to an exegetist of the Quran. For the same 
reason Imam Mahdi <uU^i-<^j has stated: 

As long as the background of a verse and circumstances 
are unknown, it is not possible to define the meaning of 
the verse. 

Hence those people who reject the importance of 
causes or backgrounds of revelations are either ignorant 
or they do it in order to give their own interpretation to 
the subjects of the Quran. 


The renowned scholar of Hadith Shall Wali-uHah 
Dehlavi *-i* m\ x^-^ has presented a thoughtful discussion on 
the causes of Revelations in his book "Al-Fawzul KabTr. 
Some people who have not been able to understand it 
properly say that he has not given any importance to the 
causes of Revelations in exegesis or has at least minimised 
their importance. But this is due to lack of understanding of 
the meaning of Shah Waliullah's discussion. In fact, he 
considers the knowledge of the causes of Revelations as a 
prime condition for exegesis, just like the majority of 
Muslims. But what he has written is this: 

99: Asbab-un-Nuz ul-lil-Wahidi p4. 

88 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

£}f Jill SjA 0->M j jj~» ri^il ji V\>* A-JlXj bdi:)l ^^iaj 

" _ J jyi\ ^L^-l & "^as>^\ ^ U* ,y i.^ ^r^j <£&> 

The gist of this discussion is that in the books of 
exegesis sometimes we find several narrations in connection 
with a single verse. All these narrations are not related to 
the causes of Revelation of that verse but may contain the 


I: At times a Companion may have quoted a verse as an 

argument at a scholarly discussion, and the 

commentators cite his argument as a minor relation to 

that verse. 
2: Sometimes the Prophet ^f cited a verse as a testimony 

on a particular occasion. The commentators reproduce 

that when explaining the meaning of that verse. 
3: Sometimes the Prophet -H stated the same subject as 

has been revealed in a Quranic verse. In the books of 

exegesis that fjaditft is also quoted under that verse. 
4: Sometimes the exegetists quote a narration simply to 

tell the place where the verse was revealed, and this is 

also made a part of exegesis. 
5: Sometiems the Quran mentions certain people without 
• giving their names. The commentators specify their 

names through various narrations. 
6: Sometimes the correct pronunciation of a particular 

word of the Quran is known through a Hadith. The 

books of exegesis reproduce that Ijaditfi. 
7: Some traditions and verses define the excellence of 

certain Surahs or verses of the Quran. The 

100: Al-Fawzul-KabTr pp22.23 Maktaba Fakhriya, Muradabad 1358 

Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 89 

commentators quote them at the relevant place in their 

8: Sometimes those Ahaditn are included in the exegesis 

which tell us how the Holy Prophet »$g conduced 

himself in relation to the injunction contained in the 


Shah Wali-ullah has stated that all such narrations come 
neither under the definition of causes of Revelation nor is it 
necessary for the commentators to be fully conversant with 
them. However, all those traditions which are factually the 
causes of revelation must be known to any commentator, 
and it is not proper for anyone to explain the Quran without 
this knowledge. Shah Wali-Ullah has elaborated this in the 
following words: 


"However, a commentator must have knowledge of two 
things. First, the incidents and happenings in the verses, 
because it is not easy to understand the hints unless the 
incidents are known. Secondly, sometimes an incident is 
described in common words but the background of its 
revelation makes it specific, or the apparent meaning is 
different from the one determined in the light of the 
background of its revelation. It is difficult to understand 
the true meanings of Quranic verses without having 
knowledge of such traditions. 

101 : Al-Fawzul KabTr fi Usui tafslr p. 23. 

M An approach to the Quranic sciences 


The verses of the Quran revealed against a particular 
background are of four kinds in relation to their general or 
specific applicatioin. 

1: Verses where a particular person has been named and 
thus it is specified that the subject matter refers 
exclusively to him. There is a consensus of opinion I 
among the scholars that the subject matter of these I 
verses would relate specifically to the person named 
and shall not apply to others, for example. 

s a 

Perished are the hands of Abu Lahab. (Al-Laliab,l 1 1:1) 

The background of revelation of this verse is well 
known, that when the Holy Prophet M stood atop the 
mount Safa and preached Islam to the Quraysh. Abu Lahab 
had said: 

Perish be you. did you invite us for this? 
This was the cause of revelation of the above verse and 
the name of Abu Lahab has been specifically mentioned. 
Therefore, the warning refers to him alone. 102 
2. In the other kind of verses attributes of a particular 
person or a group or a thing are described without 
naming anyone and some injunctions are laid down on 
the basis of these attributes. However, other evidences 
reveal the person or group or things meant. In this 
situation also there is a consensus among the scholars 
that the commandment thus pronounced shall be 

102:Asbabun Nuzul lil Waliidi. p26l. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 91 

exclusive- ly applicable to that person, or group or 
thing alluded to in the Quran and it shall not apply to 
others even though the same attributes may be found in 
them, for example the verse of Surah Al-Layl: 

Far removed from it will be the most God-fearing who 
gives his wealth to purify himself. (Al-Layl, 92:17-18) 

This verse was revealed about Abu Bakr Siddiq <$£& 
whose practice was to purchase poor slaves and then free 
them. Here, the name of Abu Bakr has not been 
mentioned but the attributes pertain to him and narrations 
of the Prophet gH tell us that it refers to Abu Bakr -^ 
alone and, therefore the grace of this verse is reserved for 
him. For this reason, Imam Razi has inferred from this 
verse that Abu Bakr Siddiq <$& is the most exalted among 
all mankind after the Prophets (T^i^^i* because in this 
verse he has been described as "the most devoted." 

And another verse says.. 

Surely the noblest among you in the sight of Allah is the 
most pious of you. {Al-Hujurat, 49:13) 

There is consensus among the commentators that the 
verse specifically refers to Abu Bakr ^k> even though he 
has not been named, because of two reasons. First, the 
word^Vt (Al-Atqa) can be used for a specific person only 
due to the prefix J I (Al) according to Arabic grammar. 
Secondly, the Haclith of the Prophet ^§ confirms this 



Hence the verses would not be applicable to anyone else 

103: Asbab-un-Nuzul lil Wal;idi p255. 
104.AI-Itqan, vl, p31. 


92 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

even if he were to spend in the way of All^h. 

Verses in the third category are those that were revealed 
against a particular background. However, its words carry a 
universal application and some other extraneous argument 
also signifies that the commandment in that verse is not 
exclusive to that background alone but in fact would apply 
to all incidents of a similar nature. The consensus about this 
type of verses is that its application will be universal as 
governed by its words and shall not be specific to the 
incident in the background of its revelation. For example, it 
is authentically established that the introductory verses of 
Surah Al-Mujadilah were revealed about Sayyidah Khawlah 
i^-iin^^ whose husband had said to her: 

■*■ ** . fj T 

You are to me like the back of my mother. 

But the words of the verses denote that the 
commandment given thereby is not exclusive for the 
husband of Sayyidah Khawlah if^ "^^j but is applicable to 
all such people who use these words for their wives. 

It is obligatory for these men that before they have 

sexual relation with their wives they should free a slave, or 

keep sixty fasts or feed sixty poor people. 

4: The fourth kind of verses were revealed in the 

background of a particular incident but the words carry 

a general sense and there is no extraneous argument to 

suggest that the verse or verses are exclusive to that 

incident in application or have a general application for 

all similar situations. There is a slight difference of 

opinion about it among the various commentators. 

Some say that the verse should be related strictly to the 

105. For further details see Al-ltq an V I , p3(). 

106. Asbab-un-Nuz ul-lil-Wahidi p23 1 . 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 93 

cause of its revelation but, contrary to this, majority of 
scholars hold the view that in this situation it would be 
more reliable to interpret the words in their general 
meaning rather than in the specific context of the cause 
of revelation. Hence, the tenets derived out of the verse 
should apply to all such situations as the words 
suggest. The rule framed by the authors of principles 
in Jurisprudence and Exegesis is described by the 
popular sentence : 

j_^l_^J( ^>j (S< fl>J U J?alll f j^JJ I L*j\ 

<- -- 

Reliance will be placed on the generalisation of words 
and not on the specific cause of revelation. 

But in fact this difference is only hypothetical. In 
practice there is no difference, because even those scholars 
who firmly bind the verses of Quran with the cause of their 
revelation apply them in other similar situations. 

The only difference is that the majority of scholars 
deduce their laws with the verse as their source while 
others do so on the authority of tfadith, consensus etc. This 
is easily understood with the following example. In surah 
al-Baqarah it has been stated: 

But if the debtor is in difficulty let there be respite till it 
is easy (for him). (Al-Baqarah, 2:280) 

The background of revelation of this verse is that Banu 
Mughirah owed some money to Banu 'Amr bin 'Umayr. 
Meawhile, the verses prohibiting interest were revealed. 
Banu 'Amr said to their debtors that they would write off 
the interest but asked for prompt repayment of the 
principal. Banu Mughirah made the plea that they were 
facing difficulty and requested some respite. Banu 'Amr 

94 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

refused to give them any respite. The said verse was 
revealed concerning this incident. 107 

Now both groups of scholars agree that the 
commandment contained in the verse has a general 
application. It is better for every lender to give respite to 
his debtor if he faces straitened circumstances. The 
difference in their views lies in that a majority of them take 
that very verse as the source of this particular 
commandment, but others argue that while the verse was 
meant exclusively for Banu 'Amr, they cite the Afyadith and 
consensus as the source of general application. It thus 
proves that this difference in opinion does not have any 
effect on the practical application of the command. 108 


In working on the exegesis of the Quran a great 

difficulty is experienced in citing the causes of revelation 

when we come across different narrations for the same 

verse. Anyone not fully conversant with the principles of 

exegesis gets involved into various doubts and confusions. 

Hence, it is essential to understand the reality of these 

differences. To get over these difficulties, scholars have 

framed very useful rules, which are summarised below. 

1: The Companions «$> and their followers were used to 

explain a verse saying, this verse was revealed about 

such and such tenet or matter. This creates the wrong 

impression that they may have defined the cause of its 

revelation, while in fact they meant to explain that such 

and such tenet is derived from this particular verse. 109 

107:Asbabun-Nuzul-lil-Wahidi p51. 

108: We have presented a brief account of this question. It is discussed 

in detail in Al-Burhah by Zarkashi vl, p24 Al-Itqan vl, p30, and 

Manahil ul Irfan vl, pp 11 8- 127. 
109:Ibn Taymiyah: Muqaddamah fi Usui it TafsTr p9. al-Maktaba 

al-'Ilmiyah Lahore 1388 AH. and Al-Itqan. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 95 

For example, in Surah an Nisa. Iblis has been quoted 
to have said, 

5JJI jt>* J^i3 p^^Uj 

And I will command them so that they will alter Allah's 
creation . ( An-Nisa, 4: 1 1 9) 

In explaining this, Anas bin Malik <$& 'Ikrimah <*$£> and 
others have stated that this verse has been revealed about 
castration, 110 but this does not mean that some one got 
himself castrated at that time and thus became the cause of 
its revelation- In fact it means that castration is one of the 
devilish acts which Satan uses to alter Allah's creation. It 
does not mean that altering Allah's creation depends on 
castration but there may be several other ways to do that 
and these have been mentioned in the books of Exegesis. 

On getting acquainted with the mode of description 
employed by the Companions and their followers we come 
to know of two rules in connection with the background of 

a: 1 If two different narrations are quoted to explain a verse 
and the words. "This verse was revealed about such 
and such matter," have been used in both the narations, 
there is in fact no contradiction in both of them. Both 
are correct in their context because none of them mean 
that the incident was the cause of revelation of that 
verse. It only means that this matter is governed by the 
subject and injunctions of this verse. The following 
example shall make it more clear. Allah has said about 
pious persons 

Their sides forsake their beds. (As-Sajdah, 32:16) 

1 10:Durr Manthur, Suyuti, v2, p223. 

96 -4" approach to the Quranic sciences 

About this verse Anas bin Malik <4&> states that this verse 
has been revealed about those Companions who kept 
themselves engaged in offering optional Salah between the 
Maghrib and Isha obligatory prayrers. In another narration he 
has been quoted to have said that the verse has been revealed 
about those who kept themselves awake for the 'Isha Salahs. 
Some other Companions consider it to be attributed to those 
who used to wake for late night prayers (Tahajjud). 111 

On the face of it, the varying interpretations seem to be 
due to different causes of its revelation but in fact these are 
the various attributes of this verse and it includes virtuous 
deeds in its meaning. 

b: If there are two narrations used in the exegesis of a verse, 
one using the words... US' J atfi cJji (This verse has been 
revealed about such matter) and the other specifically 
mentioning an incident the cause of its revelation, Then in 
this case the latter narration will be relied upon. The 
former narration being non-specific in relation to the cause 
of revelation shall be taken as narrators own interpretation 
or opinion. For example, Qxt Quran states... 

Your wives are a tillage for you so come to your tillage 
as you will. (Al-Baqarah, 2:223) 

About this verse Bukhari has quoted Ibn 'Umar 4^> as 
saying that it has been revealed about rectal coitus with 
women. 112 But Jabir 4*> and 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas iui ^j 
U^p Juf specify the cause of its revelaion to refute the I 
prevalent Jewish conception that vaginal coitus with a woman 
in lateral or prostate position will result in squint-eyed 
offsprings. Thus, this verse has clarified that coitus should be 
exclusively vaginal but any posture may be adopted for it. 113 

lll:TafsTr_Jame-ul-bayan by Ibn JarTr, pp 57-58, Maimniyah, Egypt. 
1I2:A1-Itqan, vl,p32. 
H3:Asbabun Nuzul lil-Wabidi p41. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 97 

Of the two foregoing narrations, the version of Sayyidina 
Jabir ™$k> and Sayyidina Ibn ftbbas <$k> is preferred because it 
is specific and detailed while Ibn 'Umar's narration will be 
taken as his own interpretation. 114 In fact even he does not 
read in this verse permission for rectal coitus. Rather, he 
means that the verse prohibits this the unnatural act, 115 
(because in it the woman has been called a tillage, that is, a 
means of production of human race which is not possible 
through rectal coitus.) 

2: If one narration is supported by a sound transmission 
and the other has weak or inconsistent precedents the 
former will be adopted and the latter ignored. For 
example the initial verses of Surah Ad-duha 

o JS CJ 2&j SIS&j U. o J>^ \l\ jir, o j£&j 

By the morning brightness, by the night when it is still, 
your Lord has not forsaken you, nor is He displeased. 


Bukhari and Muslim have narrated the version of 
Jundub <*^b ascribing the background of these verses to an 
incident when due to some trouble the Holy Prophet -jjjg 
could not offer Salat-ut-Tahajjud (late night pryers) for one 
or two nights. On this an unbeliever woman taunted him: 
"It seems that your Satan (God for bid), has deserted you." 

On the other hand, Tabarani and Ibn Abi Shaybah have 
quoted Khawlah, the grandmother of Hafs bin Maisarah 
i^p^buiii^j that a puppy once sat down under a cot in the 
house of the Prophet $?t and died there. "For four days 
thereafter no Wahy came to him and he asked me what has 
happened in the house that Archangel JibrTl was not coming 
to me, I thought I must clean the house. When I swept 

114:A1-Itqan vl, p32. 
115:Manahil-ul-*Irfan vl, pl08. 

98 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

under the cot the dead puppy was discovered under it." 
These verses were revealed on this occasion. But this 
narration is not based on authentic precedents because, as 
Hafiz Ibn Hajar says some of its narrators are unreliable. 

Hence, the narration carried by Bukhari has the reliable 
background of revelation of these verses. 116 
3: Sometimes both the narrations are based on authentic 
precedents but there may exist a reason to prefer one 
of them. For example, the precedents of one of them 
may be more authentic than of the other, or the 
narrator of one was a witness of that incident while the 
other was not. In such a situation the narration having 
stronger reason for preference will be adopted. For 
example the verse of Surah Al-Isra, says. 

r*& U -> &J S* a? c-*^ 1 J* £J^ o* ^J'WJ 

and they ask you (O Prophet) concerning the Spirit, say, 
'The spirit is by the command of my Lord, and you 
have not been given of knowledge except a little." 

(Al-Isra, 17:85) 

Imam Bukhari carries a Hadith about the background of 
revelation of this verse from 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud. He said, 
"I was going with the Prophet in Madinah and he walked 
with the support of a date-stick , we -passed by .some Jews. 
They said to each other that they should ask him some 
questions. Accordingly, they asked him to tell them about the 
Spirit. On this he stopped and after some moments raised his 
head and I knew that he was receiving a Wahy. Then he 
recited the verse ^-^j/'./C^ 1 J 5 ( sav ' ^ c spirit...)" 

The other version is quoted by Imam Tirmizi from Ibn 
'Abbas <$h that the Quraysh of Makkah once asked the 

116:A1-Itqan v.l p. 33 where more examples may be found. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 99 

lews to advise them what they may ask the Prophet jfe. The 
Jews suggested that they ask him about the Spirit and then 
this verse was revealed. 

The first version denotes that this verse was revealed in 

Madinah while the second one suggests that it was revealed in 

Makkah. The precedents of both are correct, but preference 

will be in favour of the first because its narrator 'Abdullah bin 

Mas'ud a& was himself present when the incident occurred, 

but it is not clear from the second narration whether the 

narrator was himself present when the incident occurred. 117 

4: Sometimes there are more causes of revelation of a 

verse than one. Several identical incidents occur one 

after the other and the verse is revealed concerning 

them. Now, one narrator cites one incident while 

another other incident as its background. Apparently, 

they seem to be contradictory but in fact there is no 

contradiction because both of them are causes of 

revelation. For example, regarding the verses of 

Suarah An-Nur about Li 'an (oath of condemnation) 

Imam Bukhari has quoted 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas M^j 

W$ip Jba as saying that Hilal bin Umaiyyah 4&> in the 

presence of the Prophet «H accused his wife of 

committing adultery. On that, these verses were 

revealed... <£Ji - ^i jj» ^yy. ^.^j {And those who 

accuse their wives... an-Nur, 24:6} Again, Bukhari has 

quoted another narration by Sahl bin Sa'ad 4& that 

'Uwaimir <*$& had asked the Prophet <$§ whether a man 

will be liable for indemnity of blood if he kills the man 

whom he finds having sex with his wife. 

What should he do in such a situation. The Prophet gjjg 

said, "Quranic verses have been revealed about you," and 

then he recited these very verses. There is yet another 

narration in Musnad Bazzaz citing yuzayfah 4#£> that the 

1 17: Al-Itqan vl, p34. 

100 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

verses were revealed after Abu Bakr *$& and 'Umar <$£> had 
been discussing the subject.' 

The fact is that all these three incidents had already 

occurred before the verses were revealed and each of them 

can be said to be the cause or background of their revelation. 

5: Sometimes it happens the other way round. Several 

verses are revealed in the background of a single 

incident. Now, one narrator cites the incident relating 

to one of those verses, while another cites the same 

incident in relation to another verse. This gives an 

impression of an apparent contradiction but in fact no 

contradiction exists. 

For example, Imam Tirmizi and riakim have quoted 
Umm Salamah i**- JujAi^*, that she once said to the 
Prophet that she did not find any mention of women in the 
Quran in relation to migration etc, and the following verse 
was revealed after that; 

a* r^ J^ J** £*"• u (/' f-$0 f-V ^>l?«^b 

So their Lord accepted their prayer, (saying), "Never 
will I waste the work of any worker among you, be he 
male or female." (Al-'Imran, 3:195) 

Imam ftakim has also quoted Umm Salamah if^ iit ^j 
that she once said to the Prophet that Quran mentions only 
males while there is no mention of women anywhere. On 

this, the following verses were revealed c„U J ij ^..,J...,.Ji a\ 

{Surely, the Muslim men and the Muslim women...} 118 and 
i^ 1 j' j** *>*(►£*• J*i* J** c**!^,^ {Never will I waste} 119 

118:This is a verse from surah Al-Ahzab (33:35) in which men and 

women are named against several righteous deeds. 
119:A1-Itqanv.l p 35. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 101 



The sixth form is repetition of a verse. 
6: Sometimes the same verse has been revealed more 
than once and every time its revelation had a different 
background. As a result, some narrators described the 
other background. Here also there is no contradiction 
because the verse has been revealed separately on 
both the occasions. 

For example. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim have 
quoted that at the time of Abu Talib's death the Prophet 3§ 
said to him, "O my uncle, just say 'There is no God but 
Allah' then I shall intercede for you." 

Abu Jahl and 'Abdullah bin Umaiyyah were also 
present there and, when they found him inclined to believe, 
they at once said to Abu Talib, "Do you want to give up 
the religion of 'Abdul Muttalib?" And they kept on 
speaking- until Abu Talib came out with the words, "I 
persist on the religion of 'Abdul Muttalib." The Prophet $g 
then siad, "I will keep on begging forgiveness for you until 
I am stopped from doing so." The following verse was then 
revealed, ' 

It is not for the Prophet, and those who believe to ask 
forgiveness for the associators... (Ar-Tawabah. 9:113) 

On the other hand. Imam Tirmizi has quoted 
Sayyidina 'Ali 4^> with a sound line of transmission as 
saying, "I heard a man begging forgiveness for his 
polytheist parents. I asked him why he did that for his 
polytheist parents. He told me that Prophet Ibrahim S0i 
had also begged forgiveness for his father who was an 
idolater. When I told this to our Prophet *H this verse was 

102 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

revealed to him." 

Yet another incident has been cited by Hakim from 
'Abdullah bin Mas'ud <$& that once the Holy Prophet M 
went to the graveyard and kept on praying and weeping by 
the side of a grave. Then he said that that was his mother's 
grave, and he begged permission from Allah to pray for her 
forgiveness but he was not given the permission, and this 
verse was revealed to him. ^i^i^iJij^JJoiru . 

This very verse has been mentioned in the background 
of all the three incidents. Hence the commentators have 
deduced that this verse was revealed separately on all the I 

three occasions. 120 

Here the question may arise when a verse was already I 

written down and memorized by the Prophet M and a I 

number of his companions why was it revealed repeatedly? I 

The question has been answered very well by Shah I 

Wali Ullah Muhaddith Dehlavi that in such cases the actual I 

revelation of the verse is made just once. However, when I 

an incident, similar to the one that was the cause of its first 
revelation, occurs again the same verse is recalled as a 
reminder in the heart of the Prophet gg. It then serves as a 
guidance in that situation too. This reminder from Allah is I 

infused in the heart of the Prophet M and is, therefore, the 
same as 'Ispiration in the Heart' which is one of the kinds 

120: This example has been taken from Al-hqan vl, P 34 hut it is I 

subject to assumption that all the three narrations are authentic 
while in fact the authenticity of the third narration is doubtful 
Hafiz Zahabi censors it (MustadraK vl.2. p. 336) and Ibn Hajar 
has cited different views of the 'Ulama on Ayyub bin HanT 
(TahzibAtTahzib vl.I, p.414) It can neither be considered as 
forged not can it form the basis for a delicate maxim 
concerning belief. Thus a large group of the 'Ulama of Ahl-us 
Sunnah believe, on the basis of several arguments, that the 
parents of the Prophet $& were believers by virtue of their 
Faith on the religion of Ibrahim. -Allima SuyutT himself has 
written a resolute treatise on this subject. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 103 

Of Wahy described in detail earlier. The exegetists liken it 
to 'Repeated Revelation.' Everytime it was inspired in the 
heart of the Prophet *H it was like a fresh revelation. 121 

The doubts or differences that are created in connection 
with the causes of revelation through Ahadith can be 
removed if the above six principles are kept in view. 

121:A1-Fawzul KabTr p22, (Ma'rifah Asbab-un-Nuzul). 



According to an authentic Hadith, the Holy Prophet 
has said, 

_ 4JL* bmxiJ L* MC >Sl-9 t_* _?-l AJCw««< 

v Jlp Jjjf 0T>J1 IJU 01 

Quran has been revealed covering seven versions. So 
recite it in a way that is easy for you from out of 
these. 122 

What is meant by revelation of the Quran on seven 
letters? This is a very momentous and lengthy subject 
and, indeed, one of the most complicated discussions on 
the sciences of the Quran. It is very difficult to discuss it 
in full details in this work but the important things about 
it are being presented below. 

The IjLadith quoted above is uninterrupted as far as its 
meanings are concerned, so that the renowned Muhaddith 
Imam Abu 'Ubayd Qasim bin Salam <ti* &\ W-j has 
affirmed its continuity. The well-known Imam of I^adith 
and Qir'at 'Allamah Ibnul-Jazari has stated that he has put 
together all the variations of this Tradition in a separate 
chapter. According to him, this Hadith has been narrated 
by 'Umar bin Khattab, Hisham bin yakim bin Hizam, 
'Abdur Rahman bin *Auf, Ub*y'bin Ka'b, Kbdullah bin 
Mas'ud, Mu'az ibn Jabal, Abu Hurayrah, 'Abdullah bin 

122:Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Fadail ul Quran. 

106 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

'Abbas, Abu Sa'Td Khudri, Huzaifah bin Yaman, Abu 
Bakr, 'Amr bin 'Aas, Zayd bin Arqam, Anas bin Malik, 
Samurah bin Jundub, 'Umar bin Abi Salmah, Abu Jaham, 
Abu Talha and Umm Ayyub Ansariyah *^p J\jc &\ ^>j 

In addition, several others have referred to the incident 
that while addressing a congregation, Sayyidina Uthman -<^> 
the third Caliph, proclaimed that all those who had heard 
the tradition that the Quran was revealed on seven letters 
each of which was effectual, should stand up. In response 
to this the number of companions who stood up was so 
large that they could not be counted. 124 


The first problem we face with this Hadith is what is 
meant by the revelation of Quran on "Seven Readings?" 
We find a great deal of difference of opinion on this 
subject. Upto 35 different views have been quoted by 
'Allama Ibn-ul-'Arabi and others. Some of the popular 
views are quoted below. 

1: Some people think that "Seven Readings" refers to the* 
recitals of the seven well-known Qaris (Recitors of 
Quran). But this view is unfounded and wrong, because 
the recitals mutawatir 125 of the Quran are not limited 
to seven. Rather, many other recitals are confirmed 
through Tawatir narrations. The "Seven" became 
popular because 'Allamah Ibn Mujahid had compiled a 
selection of seven of them in a book. He neither meant 
that recitation of the Quran was limited to those 

123: Ibn Jazarl: An-Nuishr fil Qirat vl, p21. Damascus, 1345 AH. 

124: Ibid. 

125:Mutawatir: a report of a large number of narrators whose 
agreement on a lie is inconceivable. The condition is met in the 
entire line of transmission from the origin to the last narrator. 
Tawatur. (consecutive.) 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 107 

variations nor did he intend to elucidate the seven 
readings through the seven recitals. 
2: On the same basis some scholars have opined that 
'readings' include all the different recitals, but the 
word 'seven' does not specify the number seven. It 
means 'many'. The word 'seven' is very often used in 
Arabic language to denote excess of something. Here 
also the tfadith does not intend that the 'Readings' on 
which the Quran is revealed are specifically seven, but 
it denotes that the Quran is revealed in 'many' 
readings. Of the earlier scholars, Qadi 'Ayad &\ ;u*-j 
a-A* held the jjame view, 126 and in the latest period 
Shah Wali-ullah upheld the same opinion. ,27 
But this view does not seem to be correct because 

Bukhari and Muslim have quoted Ibn 'Abbas 4& saying that 

he heard the Prophet *H say: 

Jibril taught me the Quran in one reading but I turned to 
him and did not cease asking him to allow more until he 
ended up at seven readings. 128 

The tradition is reported in detail in Muslim on the 
authority of Ubayy bin Ka'b 4& that the Prophet g£ was 
sitting by the pond of Banu Ghifar. 

126: Awjaz al-Masalik lla Muwatta Imam Malik v2, p56, Saharanpur 
Press, 1350 AH. 

127: Musaffa Sharah Muwatta vl p!87. Faruqi Press. Delhi, 1293 
rVri . 

!28:Manahil al-'Irfan. vl, p!33. 

108 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

J^Jg-T ii l £j*\ Olj AJyii^ j <JliU^ «d)l Jwf Jli$ <<~*j £, [J^ 

aJ%* Jp 0(^1 £b*I f/S 01 ii^.1* AiJl 01 JtS3 adtill -j *Ur 

jJJi JeJaJ^ ^1 01 j 43jAk* j AJliU^ 4lH jL-1 JUi c->^l 

J^. OtyDl db»l IjSS 01 il^t -All 01 : jUi *~l> o t U jj 

"_1 yU-sl JLA3 <uip 1 « £ i <^J p- Ujli *_i ~>-l 4x~- 

So Jibril SS@I came to the Prophet $H and said, ^Allah 
has commanded you that all your people should recite 
the Quran following one method of reading." On that 
he said, "I seek the forgiveness of Allah, my people 
do not have the ability to do so." Then Jibril came to 
him again and said, "Allah has commanded that your 
people recite the Quran following two readings." He 
said, "I seek the forgiveness of Allah, my people do 
not have the ability to do even that" then he came a 
third time and said, "Allah has commanded you that 
your people should read the Quran following three 
readings." The Prophet rUs again said, u \ seek 
forgiveness from Allah, my people have no ability for 
that too." Then Jibril #&$! came a fourth time and 
said, "Allah has commanded you to let your people 
recite the Quran following seven readings." 
Hence whichever recital they would follow will be 
correct. 129 

The context of these narrations indicates clearly 

129:Manahil ul 'Irfan. vl, pl33. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 109 

that the word 'seven' does not denote an 
unspecified large number but it denotes the exact 
quantity 'seven'. Hence, in the light of these 
narrations this view (that seven means more than 
that) does not hold good and the majority of 
scholars reject it. 

Some other scholars, including JIafiz Ibn Jarlr TabarT 
and others have stated that, in this Tradition, the seven 
readings indicate the seven dialects of the Tribes of 
Arabia. The Arabs belonged to different tribes and the 
language of each tribe, in spite of being Arabic, had a 
slightly different dialect. It was as usually occurs with a 
major language that several dialects naturally evolve on 
regional basis. Hence, for the conve nience of different 
tribes, Allah revealed the Quran on seven dialects so that 
every tribe may read it according to its own dialect. 130 
Imam Abu Hatim SijistanT *-A* & JU»-j has even enumerated 
the names of these tribes and has stated that the Quran 
was revealed in the dialects of these seven tribes. They 
are:^Quraysh, rjuzayl, Taymur Rabab, Azd, RabT'ah, 
Hawazin and S'ad bin Bakr. And Hafiz Ibn Abdul Barr 
has relied upon some authorities to name the tribes thus: 
yuzayl, Kinahah, Dabbah, Taymur Rabab Asad bin 
Khuzaimah and Quraysh. 131 

However, many researchers, such as tlafiz Ibn 'Abdul 
Barr, 'Allamah Suyuti and 'Allamah Ibnul JazarT havfe 
refuted this view due to certain reasons. 

First, the number of Arabian tribes was quite large, 
why should seven be selected? Secondly, there was a 
disagreement between Sayyidina Umar *^> and Sayyidina 
Hisham bin Hakim 4&> on -the correct recital of the Quran. 
This is reported in Sahlh Bukhari in detail, although both of 

130: Tafslr Ibn Jarlr vl, pl5. 

131: Path al Bari v9, p22 and Ruhul Ma'ani vl, p 21. 

110 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

them were of the Quraysh and the Prophet M confirmed 
that both were correct and said that the Quran had been 
revealed on seven readings. If seven readings were meant to 
denote dialects of the seven different tribes there should 
have^been no difference in the views of 'Umar <^> I 
Hisham. 132 'Allamah Alusi has, however, stated that it was 
possible that the Prophet M might have taught the Quran to 
one of them on a dialect different from the Quraysh 
dialect 3 But this argument is weak because die purpose of 
revelation of the Quran in different dialects was to make its 
rectital easy for every tribe, hence it does not conform to 
the Prophetic wisdom to teach the Quran to a Quraysh in a 
different dialect. 

Apart from this, Imam TahavT has raised another 
objection that, if the seven readings corresponded to tribes, 
then it is in contradiction to the Quranic proclamation. 

- .> * 

And We have sent no Messenger but with the lauguage 
Of his people. (Surah Ibrahim, 14:4) 

There is no doubt that the Prophet's people were the 
Quraysh, hence it is apparant that the Quran was ] 
revealed in the_dialect of the Quraysh only . 134 This view 
of Imam Tahavi is supported by the fact that when 
Sayyidina Uthman 4& intended to gather the Ouran a 
second time and formed a committee comprising the 
Companions headed by Zayd bin Thabit 4&> for this 
purpose, he instructed them, 

132: An-Nashr fiipirat ul-'Ashr vl, p.25 and Fathul Ban v9, p23. 
133: Ruhul Ma'ahi vl, p21. 

134:Tahavi Mushkil ul-Xthar v4, pl85-186 Daira-tul Ma'arif, Daccan 
1333 AH. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 111 

d£~Li t^lljrti a! ;JJi '• 

% OS - ,* ■ * 

"If you differ about any point of dialect in Quran you 
should adopt the dialect of Quraysh because the Quran 
has been revealed in their language. 135 

Sayyidina 'Uthman 4^> made it clear that the Quran has 
been revealed only in the language of Quraysh. The 
question then arises why should there be a difference 
among them? This would be discussed in detail further on. 

Apart from this, the proponents of this view hold that 

"Seven" and "Recital" are two separate things. The 

variations in its recital which exist even today belong to 

one dialect only, which is the language of the Quraysh. 

The other dialects were either abrogated or eliminated for 

some valid reason. On this question, among the several 

doubts one observes that in the entire collection of 

■Afyadith, we do not find any proof that there were two 

kinds of differences in the recital of the Quran, one 

pertaining to 'Seven Dialects and the other pertaining to 

the words of 'Recital'. In fact wherever a difference in the 

words of the Quran has been mentioned it is referred to as 

dialect difference. Difference in recital is not mentioned 

as a separate difference. For these reasons this view also 

serves as aAveak argument. 

4: The fourth popular view is that of Imam Tahavi. 
According to him, the Quran was revealed only in the 
dialect of Quraysh but because the people of Arabia 
belonged to different regions and different tribes and it 
was very difficult for all of them to recite it in one dialect, 
hence in the beginning they were permitted to recite it in 

135:Bukhari: Compilation of the Quran. 

112 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

synonymous words of their language. Thus the Prophet $§ 
had himself suggested synonmous for those people who 
could not recite the Quran in the original words correctly. 
These synonyms were chosen from the dialects of both, 
the Quraysh and non-Quraysh. Such as, instead of Jw 
words like i»* * Jii « ^a could be read because they had the 
same meaning. But this permission was given in the early 
days of Islam when all Arabs were not fully acquainted 
with the language of the Quran. But gradually, this 
language gained more circulation and the people of Arabia 
got used to it. They found it easy to recite in the original 
diction of Quran. In the month of Ramadan before his 
death, the Prophet^ sat with Jibril &$ for the final 
Revision of the Quran. This is known as Ardul Akhirah 
(the Final Revisiai). The use of synonyms was thereafter 
disallowed and only the original diction of the Quran 
remained. 136 

According to this view the tradition relating to "Seven 
Dialects" pertained only to the period when the use of 
synonyms was permissible in the recitation of the Quran, 
and it did not mean that the Quran was revealed in seven 
dialects. But that it has been revealed with a flexibility that 
for a certain period it could be recited in seven dialects and 
even that did not mean that they were permitted to use 
seven synonyms with every word of the Quran, but that the 
maximum number of synonyms that could be used was 
seven. Further, this relaxation did not mean that everybody 
was free to choose the synonyms of his own choice, but the 
words were chosen by the Prophet 3§ himself, and he 
taught the Quran to everyone in the diction that was easy 
for him. Hence only those synonyms were permitted that 
were proved from Prophet iH. 137 

136:Mushkil-ul-Xthar Tahavi v4, pi 86- 191. 
137:Fathul Bari, v9, pp22. 23. 

I;* approach to the Quranic sciences 113 

Apart from Imam Tahavi, Sufyan bin 'Uyainah &\ U*- j 
aJ* and Ibn Wahb aJl* At a+*~j also subscribe to this view. 
Mafiz Ibn 'Abdul Barr *> Ai *+^j goes on to attribute the 
view to most scholars. 138 

This view appears to be more logical than all the other 
views and its advocates present as an argument the following 
narration of Abu Bakr 4^e> as quoted in Musnad Ahmed. 

Ijjb j LSI * (JlsJ <i-Uj5 y>*j fc-->LX*J ^>"Jj' ^-^^ u-^-X*- 

Jibril $H said to the Prophet ^ "O Muhammad read 
the Quran on one diction." Mika-il & said to the 
Prophet SI to get the number increased, till the matter 
reached upto seven. Jibril ffl then said, "Each of these 
is sufficient unless you mix the verses of punishment 
with those of rewards and vice versa. It will be the same 
as you express the meaning of Juj (come) with '^j~^ 
J^ (j»JUb <«_j»&i and &*■. 

There may not be doubt on this view any more but a 
confusion exists and it does not explain the positon of 
different recitals of the Quran which continue to this day. 
Even this theory does not account for it. If these recitals 
are treated as something different from "Seven Dialects" 
solid arguments will be needed to prove it. In the vast 
collection of Ahadith, we do not find any mention of 
difference in the Quran other than in the Reading. How 
then may we explain differences in Reading and Dialect. I 
have not been able to find a satisfactory answer to this 

138:Sharah Muwatta~v.2 p. 11, Zarqani. Al Maktaba al Ttfaratul Kubra 
Egypt 1355 AH. 

114 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

confusion with the advocates of this theory. 


In our view the best explanation and interpretation of 
the Seven Dialects of Quran is that it means "Variation in 
Reeitar\ The seven dialects refer to variations in the 
recital of the Quran of seven kinds. Hence although the 
recitals are more than seven yet the variations found in 
them evolve arround seven basic points. (We will explain 
that later on.) 

To the best of our knowledge this view was first 
propounded by Imam Malik. The renowned commentator of 
the Quran Nizamuddin Qummi Nishapuri has written in his 
TafsTr Ghara'ib ul-Quran that Imam Malik believed that the 
seven Readings denoted the following seven variations in 
the recital of the Quran: 
1: Variation in numbers, so that one word is read as 

singular in one recital and plural in another recital, for 

example, dLji^iTc^J j and dbjOtUS*. 139 
2: Variation in gender, that is a masculine word in one 

recital becomes feminine in the other, for example V 

J-A becomes J-£> V . ,40 
3: Variations in placement of diacritical marks, the 

Kasrah and fathah are changed, e.g. ^ *js> jlb=-\y Ja 

becomes & j* jJi^j^J* . 141 
4: Variations in verb for example oy*ju becomes ojj/^>. 142 

5: Variations in syntax, for example j^L-iJi j£i becomes f jlo\-z3\J>$. * 4 ^ 

6: Variations caused by transposition, for example. 

139: Kalimatu Rabbik (The word of your Lord), and Kalimatu Rabbik 

(The words of your Lord.) 
140: La yuq-balu and La-tuqbalu. 
141 :Gh|ayrullahi and Ghayrillahi. 
142: Ya*ar ri-shun and Yu'ar ri-shun. 
143: Lakin-nash-shayatTn and Lakinash-shayatTnu. 

in approach to the Quranic sciences 115 

- $ t »' 

j^JUj becomes Oj-J*> and ^'jr^> becomes up^ , 144 

7: Variations of pronunciation or accent. 145 Variations 

in tajkhlm, tarqlq, imalah* mackL qasr* ipiar, idgham 

rendering sound heavy, soft, inclining it, prolonging, 

shortening, expressing clearly and assimilating). 

Further, the same view has been adopted by 'Allamah 

Ibn Qutaybah. Imam Abul Fadl RazT, QadT Abu Bakr bin 

At-Tayyib BaqillanT, Ibn Jazari. 146 Ibnul Jazari, the 

unowned scholar of Recital of the Quran, has also stated in 

connection with this Haditli "I remained in doubt about this 

tradition and pondered over it for more than thirty years till 

Allah, the Almighty, uncovered for me its explanation that 

will be correct, if Allah wills it"\ 147 ^%> 

All these scholars are in agreement that by seven 

Dialects in this Hadith is meant the seven forms of the 

variations in recital, but there is some difference in the 

Formulation of those variations because each of them has 

arranged them independently. Of these the one whose 

enlistment is the most concise, well arranged and firmly 

established is Imam Abul-Fadl Razi. According to him. 

Variations in Recital of the Quran depend on seven kinds: 

1: Variations in nouns: This includes difference in 

number and gender e.g. ^ji^J& *i~*j has also been read 

as wiLj ouJS oaJ . 

2: Variations in verbs: The same .verb is read in the 

past present or future tense, or as an imperative, for 

exampleUjUL-i ^ a^b LTj has also been read as: -uj Uij 

144: Y 4 a la mun and t*a la mun and Nunshuzuha and Nanshuruha. 

145: Ghara-i-bul Quran wa Ragha-ibul Furqan, Al-Nishapuri Hamish 
Ibn JarTr v,l p21. 

146: The opinion of Ibn Qutaybah, Abul Fadl Razi, and Ibn Jazari are 
found in Fath ul Ban v9 pp 25-26 and al-Itqan v.l p. 47 and of 
Qadi Ibn AI-Tayyib in TafsTr al-Qurtabi vl, p45. 

147: An-Nashr fil Qir'at al-'Ashr vl, p26. 

I 16 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

3: Variations in the position of diacritical marks. There is 
a variance in I 'rib the Kasrah, fathah, dammah: 
Ljis" juJ if, become Ljtf" .>&»$ and jl*J<Ji J>°j*3tji 
become x^lU i jtj&fji . 

4: Variations Caused by Omissions and additions: There 
is an extra word in a reading which is not found in 
another. For example^^ij /&\ jU- loj is ^^'j jS^'J * n 
another ji^'Jliv^w^^^ is ^ii^c^o in another. 

5: Variations of placement of words: 

A word precedes in a reading while it follows in 
another, e.g. j^Ju oj*Ji 5^L. o *i>-j becomes o*b»- 

6: Variations caused by replacement of words: 

There is a word in one reading but quite another word 
in the other reading, e.g. uytl' becomes Uj-ili and ij4^ 
is »j=Is=3and ^AWs £&. 
7: Variations of accent: It rests round changes in tafkhlm, 
tarqlq,imalah, qasr, madd, hamz, izhar and idgham 
(e.g Musa read with Imalah becomes like musay) 148 
The scheme of Imam Abul Fadl RazT appears more 
comprehensive as compared to that of 'Allamah Ibnul 
JazarT, 'Allamah Ibn Qutaybah and Qadi Abu Tayyib in that 
no variation has been left out in this. Contrary to this, the 
schemes of the other three scholars do not contain the last 
mentioned variation (of accent). In Imam Malik's scheme 
we do find mention of variations of accent, but we do not 
find adequate clarrification of variance, for example, their 
addition or omission, prefixing or suffixing, and 
replacement of words. Imam Abul Fadl's description takes 
account of all these differences. Imam Jazari who spent 
more than thirty years pondering over the seven readings 
has also quoted this scheme with great emphasis and no 
objection has been raised by him. Rather, taking his view 

148:Fathul Ban", v9, p24. 

in approach to the Quranic sciences 117 

II a whole it appears that he prefers Imam Abul Fadl's 
II heme to his own 149 tfafiz Ibn Hajar has also preferred 
i Ins scheme, because he has reproduced the views of 
Allamah Qutaybah and remarked, "This is good 
isoning." Then he has described the seven kinds of 
Variations of Imam Abul Fadl and remarked, ^ i*-\ Ji j cJi 
*jJo j~a~&j>\ "I think that by adopting Ibn Qutaybah's verdict 
Imam Abul Fadl has further polished it." 150 Shaikh Abdul 
'Azim Zarqani has also adopted the same view and given 
arguments in its support. 

The scholars, Imam Malik, Ibn Qutaybah, Abul Fadl 
Razi, Ibnul Jazari and Qadi Baqillan! agree that the seven 
I >talects in the Hadith refer to the seven kinds of difference 
in Reading. 

In my humble opinion this is the best explanation of the 
seven Dialects. The intention of Hadith also appears that 
i he words of the Quran may be read in different ways, and 
iliese different ways are seven in number. Since there is no 
specification of these seven variations in any Hadith it 
I .uinot be said with certainty about any scheme that it 
conforms to the intention of the Hadith, but apparently the 
scheme of Imam Abul Fadl Razi is more correct because it 
is applicable to the various forms of recitals current to-date. 


Of several explanations of the seven Dialects in liadith, 
exegesis or Books on the sciences of the Quran that we 
have come across, we prefer this opinion that the phrase 
refers to the seven basic points of variation in the recital of 
the Quran. Our reasons for it are: 
I: According to this view, we do not have to consider 

149: An-nashr-fU-qira'at 'Ashr vl, p27,28. 

I. SO: Fat-hul BarT, v9, p24._ 

ISI:Manahil-u]-'Irfanfi 'ulum-il-Quran vl . pp!54 to 156. 

H8 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Dialects and Recitals as two separate things. A 
common problem in the views of 'Allamah Ibn JarTr 
and Imam Tahavi is that we accept that two kinds of 
differences existed in the recital of the Quran, one 
pertaining to dialect (or ahruf) and the other to recital 
and that the former was abrogated but the latter 
persists. But we do not find even a weak tradition in 
the vast collection of Aljadith to show that Dialects and 
Recital are two separate things. The Aljadith mention 
only variation in dialect, (ahruf) and it is for this word 
that the term "Recital" has been extensively used. If 
the Recital were something different from these there 
must have been some indication in the Traditions . 
Why is it that Tawatur Aljadith pertaining to variations 
in Dialect may be found, but there is no mention of 
variation in Recital as distinguished from those Ahadith? 

How can it be possible to say, just on conjecture, that 
apart from the variations of dialect there was yet another 
type of variation in the words of the Quran? 

In the foregoing proposition this difficulty is totally 
eliminated because it uses the terms Dialect and Recitals as 
one and the same thing, say synonymously. 
2: If we accept the view of 'Allamah Ibn JarTr then we 
have to assume that six out of seven renderings have 
been abrogated or have become obsolete and only the 
Quraysh version continues. The present recitals are 
variations of that. The difficulties in accepting this 
view shall be discussed in detail subsequently. In the 
preferred view, however, there are no such defects 
because, according to it, all the seven renderings 
remain safe and existent even today. 
3: According to the preferred view the meaning of Seven 
Dialects is undisputed while we have to resort to 
conjectures in the meaning of 'ahruf or in the 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 1/9 

numerical value of Seven in the other propositions. 

4: Of the views of all the scholars that have come before 
us, the most renowned person and in proximity to the 
Prophetic era is that of Imam Malik, and according to 
'Allamah NlshapurT -ul* &1 ;u*- j shares the same view. 

5: 'Allamah Ibn Qutaydah *J* 4»1 S-^j and Ibn ul Jazari 
aJlp -it i*j*-j are both well recongnised authorities on the 
subject of Qir'at (Recitals), and both of them uphold 
the same view. It has already been mentioned that the 
latter came to this conclusion after giving it due 
thought and consideration for thirty years. 


Let us now see what objections may be raised on this 
view and what have been raised. 

The first objection raised against this view is that all the 
variations described under this depend on grammatical 
classification, but at the time when the Prophet gg| 
pronounced this Hadith, such grammatical classifications 
and phrases were not known, and most people did not even 
know reading and writing. Under the circumstances it is 
difficult to cite these variations as the seven Dialects. 

Hafiz Ibn Hajar has replied to this objection in the 
following words: 

From this the weakness of Ibn Qutaybah's view does not 

necessarily arise, because it is possible that the said 

. reliance may have occurred by chance and became 

120 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

known through reasoning for induction, and the 
prudence therein is not a secret. 

In our humble comprehension, it is true that these 
grammatical terms were not in usage during the Prophetic 
era, and perhaps that was the reason why the Prophet «Sg 
did not elaborate the meaning of Seven Dialects. But this is 
obvious that the basis did exist even at that time although 
they may not have been given grammatical terms. One 
should not wonder if the Prophet $1 himself had 
recongnised the terms and divided the variation into seven 
basic points. If the details of the seven reasons for 
variations were described at that time it might have been 
beyond common comprehension. Hence, rather than go into 
details he explained that the reasons for variations were 
seven. Later on when these terms came into use, the 
learned scholars described the causes of variations in 
relevant words and phrases. As we have already said, it is 
difficult to define any one proposition as the one that 
conforms to the intentions of the Prophet -H. However 
different people conclude that the reasons for variations 
even though their details may not exactly be the same as 
established by these scholars, particularly when no other 
rational explanation of the 'Seven Dialects' can be 
reasonably given. 


2: The second objection to this view can be that since the 
Quran was revealed on seven recitations to make its 
recital easy for the people this would hold true with the 
view of 'Allamah Ibn JarTr. There were people 
belonging to different tribes in Arabia and it was 
difficult for one tribe to read according to the dialect of 
the other. But according to Imam Malik, RazT and 

An approach to the Quranic sciences * 21 

Ibnul Jazari all seven letters belonged to the Quraysh 

dialect and it remains ambiguous as to why the 

variations of recital were allowed to continue when the 

Quran was meant to be revealed in only one dialect? 

This objection is based on the idea that the Prophet 

asked for the facility of reciting the Quran on seven letters 

in view of the variations in the dialects of various tribes, 

and it was for this reason that Ibn JarTr termed the Seven 

Dialects as "Seven Dialects of Arabia". But this is a thing 

that is not supported by any Ijfadith. On the other hand, in 

one of his narrations the Prophet tgg has clearly elucidated 

what was in his mind when seeking the facility of seven 

letters. Imam TirmizT has quoted Ubayy bin Ka'b with 

authentic evidences: 

: J,^ jJL. j -Op Al J^> Alii Jj^j JU* 

_ U»y^\ 4*-~- Jp jT^iJl l 3^^ (♦"*/*"* t)^ 3 

The Holy Prophet ^g met Jibril 85$! near the rocks of 
Marwah. He said to Jibril 891, "I have been sent to an 
unlettered nation which comprises the aged nearing their 
graves, elderly women and also children." Jibril $59 
said, "Ask them to recite the Quran on seven ahruL " 
In another tradition of Tirmizi again, the Prophet M is 
reported to have siad to Jibril $B: 

152. An Nashr-fil-qiraatul 4 ashr. vl. p20. 

122 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

f^h s&h £~ih jy**^ ^ c^* 1 w J 1 ^^. j\ 

"I have been sent to an unlettered nation wherein 
there are elderly women, old men and aged people, 
and also boys and girls and also people who have 
never read a book." 153 

The words of this fladith explain very clearly that the 
Prophet M had in view that he was sent to an unlettered 
and illiterate people who included different age groups and 
types. If only one method of recital was fixed it could have 
created problems for them. On the other hand, if several 
alternatives were available it would become possible that a 
person not being able to recite with one method may utter 
the same words in a different style. This will enable them 
to perform their Salah correctly. Often it happens that aged 
men or eldery women or illiterate persons get used to a 
word in a particular accent or phonation, and for them even 
a minor variation of a diacritical mark may be a difficulty. 
That is why the Prophet M sought this facility, for 
example, if a person cannot easily express it in the 
unfamiliar form of another dialect, or if somebody is unable 
to recite singular easily he may read it as plural, if 
somebody finds one accent difficult he may use the other 
accent available. In this way the reader will have seven 
options available to him. 

You might have noted that in this Hadith the Prophet 
while seeking the facility of seven readings, did not 
request it to facilitate different tribes but he had age groups 
and illiteracy in mind, but contrary to this he expressed his 
concern on differences in their ages and their being 

153. Jam'e Tirmiz i, v2, pl38 Quran Mahal, karachi 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 123 

illiterate. This clearly proves that the basic reason of giving 
the facility of seven readings was not the dialectical 
differences of the various tribes but it was illiteracy among 
the people in general so that they could benefit from it. 

3. The third objection could be that the seven 
variations of the recital of Quran, are in any case 
conjectural and hypothetical. This can be said of the 
opinions of all of them including Malik, Abul Fadl RazT, 
'All amah Ibn Qutaybah, Ibnul Jazari or Qadi Ibn 
ut-Tayyib. That is why each of them has described the 
details of the seven causes of variations separately. How 
then can we say about any of them that they conformed to 
the Prophet's sH sayings? 

The answer to this objection is that we do not find an 
explicit clarification of "Seven Dialects" in any Hadith or 
narration of the Companions. Hence, the inference has been 
drawn from a collective study of all the narrations 
available. Thus, as an accepted thing this view seems to be 
nearer to reality than others because no basic objection 
arises out of this. Judging from this standard, we feel 
almost certain that the phrase "Seven Ahrttf in this 
Tradition means the seven forms of variations in recital of 
the Quran. As for specifying and determining these forms, 
we have already stated that there is no other way of doing it 
except reasoning through induction. That deduced by Imam 
Abul Fadl RazT appears to us as comprehensive but we 
cannot say with certainty that the Prophet $g meant exactly 
the same thing, but this does not deny that by "Seven 
Ahruf" Prophet M meant the seven variations in recital. 
We have neither the means to gain the exact cognizance of 
its details nor is it necessary. 

4. The fourth objection to this view may be raised that 
it takes into consideration only the words and differences in 
the variations in their expressions, Their meanings have not 

124 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

been dealt with, even though there is a narration according 
to which "Seven Dialects" mean "Seven kinds of 
meanings." Imam Tahavi has quoted 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud 
as saying that the Prophet $§ said: 

Jyj Jl>-Ij J»y>- JU> Jj^\ 3 ^jL j* J^O Jj^i ^l^Jl jlT 

Formerly the Book used to be revealed in one chapter on 
one letter and the Quran has been revealed in seven 
chapters on seven letters. The seven letters are Zajir 
(that which restricts), Amir (that which commands), 
Halal (permissible), Haram (Prohibited), Muhkam 
(Established), Muta-shabeh (Exact meaning not known), 
and Amthal (Examples). 

It is on this evidence that certain scholars have 
attributed the Seven Letters to seven kinds of meanings. 

But the above Tradition is based on weak precedents. 
Imam Tahavi has stated about this Tradition that it is 
reported by Abu Salamah as a narration from 'Abdullah bin 
Mas'ud, but Abu Salamah never met 'Abdullah bin 
Mas'ud. 154 {} M 

Apart from this, explaining all such views attributed to 
earlier scholars Hafiz Ibn JarTr TabarT says that these 
expressions were not made as an interpretation of the 
Hadith on "Seven dialects" but they meant to say that the 
Quran consisted of this type of subjects. 

As for those who have commented on the Ifadith itself, 
their opinion is patently wrong. Anyone with a rudiment of 
understanding will know on casting a superficial glance on 

154: Mushkil-ul-Athar v4, pi 85. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 125 

the other AJ^adith that various words do not amount to change 
in meanings and subjects. They are only variations of words 
in the recital. That is why none of the scholars on this subject 
accept this interpretation, rather they have rebutted it. lS5 


After having established the meanings of the "Seven 
Readings" the important thing to know is whether they still 
exist or not? For this there are three views among the 
earlier scholars. 


The first view is that of Hafiz Ibn JarTr Tabri and his 

We have already stated that according to him "Seven 
Dialects" mean the seven dialects of the tribes of Arabia. 
On this basis they say that the Quran was being recited on 
these seven letters until the time of Sayyidina Uthman <$£&. 
But when Islam spread far and wide disputes arose among 
the people due to their ignorance about the reality of seven 
versions. Everyone recited the Quran on different rendering 
and found fault in the recitals of the other. In order to 
overcome the problem, Sayyidina Uthman 4^> consulted the 
other companions and compiled seven copies of the Quran 
only on one version, that is, the language of Quraysh and 
sent them to the different provinces of the State, and burnt 
all other copies, so that no dispute might arise. Hence, only 
the version on the dialect of Quraysh remained and the 
other six are non-existent. The variations in the recitals 
which we find today are in fact the different ways of 
expression of the same Qurayish letter. 156 

155: For details see Al-Itqan vl, p49, Edn. 16, and An-Nasr-fi-qira'at 

til-'ashr, by Ibnul Jazari vl, p25. 
156: Tafslr Ibn-e- JarTr, vl, p!5. 

126 An approach to the Quranic sciences 



Hafiz Ibn JarTr Tabar!<ul*AJJii*?-j has elaborated upon his 
view with firm assurance in the preface of his TafsTr. 
Therefore, it has become very popular and the term 'Seven 
dialects' is interpreted in context with this view. But the fact 
is that most of the research Scholars 157 have not adopted it 
and have firmly refuted this view, because it involves 
several complications for which there is no solution. 

The first objection to this view is the one that has 
already been described, that in this the "Letters" and 
"Recitals" have been treated as two separate things, but this 
is not supported by any Haciith. 

The second objection is that on the one hand Hafiz Ibn 
JarTr admits that all the seven dialects were divine 
revelations but, on the other hand, he says that Sayyidina 
Uthman <$$> abolished the recital of six letters with the 
consent of the companions. But it is very difficult to believe 
that the companions of the Prophet |H would agree to 
abolish six versions that were revealed by Allah on the 
request of the Prophet $& for the convenience of people. A 
consensus of the Companions is, indeed, conclusive in 
religious doctrines, but it is not imaginable that they would 
unite to abrogate versions that were part of the Quran. 

Hafiz Ibn JarTr has replied to this objection that while 
the Ummah «&e> was ordained to guard the Quran they were 
given an option that they may adopt whichever of the 
seven dialects they like. Hence the people took advantage of 
this option and, for the sake of unanimity, gave up six 
versions and united on one. These steps were neither meant 
to abrogate the versions nor to prohibit their recital but to 
select one only for collective good and unity. 

157:The names of the scholars are given in the following lines. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 127 

But this argument is also weak because even though the 
people as a whole might have adopted one version for its 
practical purposes they may have let the others remain in 
records alone. The Quran says: 

Surely We have revealed Admonition (The Quran), and 
surely We are its Guardian. (Al-Hijr, 15:9) 

If all the seven were letters of the Quran, this verse 
would clearly mean that they would be preserved to the 
Day of Resurrection. Even if someone gives up their recital, 
they would continue to exist. Hafiz Ibn Jarir has advanced 
the argument that the Quran has given three options as 
expiation for making a false vow, namely, free a slave or 
feed ten poor people or clothe ten poor people. So if the 
Ummah adopts one of them without making other options 
unlawful, they are allowed to do so. Likewise, the Ummah 
has collectively chosen one version out of seven. But this 
example cannot hold, because if the people adopt one of the 
three options of expiation in a manner that although they do 
not consider the other two as unlawful yet they cast them 
into extinction so that while it is known that there existed 
two more options. but with the passage of time they have 
forgotten what these two options were. Certainly, the 
Ummah would not be entitled to do such a thing. 

Further, the question arises as to what was the need to 
abandon the remaining six versions. Ibn JarTr has stated that 
severe disputes were erupting due to the variations of these 
letters, hence Sayyidina Uthman *£&> with consent of the 
Companions, thought it proper that the whole nation should 
unite on one version. But this argument is also 
unacceptable. Differences among the Muslims due to these 
variations had come up even during the time of the Prophet 

128 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

The Afyadith recount several instances of one 
companion arguing with another who recited the Quran 
with a reading different from his own. So much so that 
Bukhari carries a Hadith that Sayyidina Umar <$$£> dragged 
Sayyidina Hisham bin yakim bin IJizam with a sheet round 
his neck and took him to the Prophet *jfe (due to similar 
difference in recital). And Sayyidina Ubayy bin Ka'ab states 
that he entertained serious doubts on account of variations 
in Readings. But on such occasions the Prophet $| did not 
abrogate the seven versions; rather, he informed them of 
the concession allowed in recital so that no mischief or 
unrest arose. It cannot the said of the Companions that 
instead of following the Tradition of the Prophet <$| they 
would have abrogated six letters. 

Further, what is strange is that according to Ibn Jarlr 
the Companions abolished six dialects for fear of disputes 
but retained the recitals which, according to him, were 
different from dialects and they are still preserved although 
sometimes one word could be rendered in several ways. 
The question arises that if the disputes and wranglings were 
anticipated due to variations of dialect, could they not be 
anticipated also due to variations of recital ? If the intention 
behind abolishing six dialects was only to create unity 
among Muslims and that they all read the Quran in one 
manner, why were the variations of recitals not removed? 
When disruption among Muslims could be checked despite 
different recitals and they could be persuaded that recital of 
the Quran was permissible in all these manners, why the 
same policy was not adopted for variations in Dialect? If we 
accept the view of Ibn JarTr we would have to accuse the 
Companions for adopting a double standard, for seven 
Dialects and Recitals. And this cannot be justified. 

Then, the attribution of such a step to Sayyidina 
Uthman ^> and other Companions is not based on any 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 129 

authentic Tradition. But, it is deduced through ambiguous 
words. The narratives that describe the incident of 
compilation of the Quran by Sayyidina Uthman <^e> do not 
say that he had abrogated six dialects. In fact, there are 
evidences against it which we will see later. So, how may 
we infer that the Companions tolerated the abrogation and 
wiping out of the six dialects that Prophet »Sf had 
repeatedly requested and was allowed, particularly when we 
have no ffadith to support the inference. 

Surely, the Companions were hesitant even to undertake 
the noble task of compilation of the Quran just because this 
was not done by the Prophet «|&, and they had spent their 
lives in safeguarding every word of the Quran, and had 
preserved even the abrogated verses separately for the 
Ummah for their historical importance. These Companions 
could not be expected to unite to eradicate the six dialects 
in a manner that they become quite extinct. What reason 
could there be that we do not find a single example even in 
the weak Traditions about the "Letters" which Ibn JarTr 
himself admits, were not abrogated but only their recital 
and writing was abolished as an expedient measure? 

That is why most research scholars have refuted the 
view of Hafiz Ibn JarTr TabarT. 


2. The other view is that of Imam TahavT *-U- M i-^j 
that has been discussed earlier. According to this view the 
Quran was revealed in only the dialect of the Quraysh but 
to facilitate its recital, people were permitted to use 
synonyms not exceeding seven in number. Even these 
synonyms were specified by the Prophet $j$ and it is this 
relaxation that has been described in Hadith as revelation of 
the Quran on "Seven Ahriif." But this was permitted only 
in the early days of Islam and later on when people were 

130 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

used to the language of Quran, it was abrogated by the 
Prophet M himself. This was done after the Prophet $j& 
revised the Quran with Jibril $3 in the last Ramadan of his 
life. Now only the original language exists, that is the 
dialect of the Quraysh in which the Quran was revealed. 

This view seems better than that of Hafiz Ibn Jarir in 
that the abolition of six dialects has not been attributed to 
the Companions but to the Prophet $g. However, the 
difficulty arises that according to this view the six dialects 
were not revealed by Allah, although there is the incident 
when there was a dispute between Sayyidina Hisham and 
Sayyidina Umar 4&, the former recited Surah Al-Furqan 
on a dialect before the Prophet »Ji and he said cJjii liSU 
(This Surah has been revealed as recited). Then Sayyidina 
Umar 4^> recited it in another dialect and the Prophet «$g 
said again cJjJi u£a (This Surah has been revealed as 
recited). This proves that both the dialects were parts of 
Divine revelations. 

Besides, as has been stated earlier this view also does 
not state clearly what the status of recitals is: whether they 
form part of the seven dialects or not. If they were included 
in them it will be like saying that like the six letters they 
were not Divine revelations, but this is preposterous. If 
they were not included therein, then we have no proof to 
identify them as distinct from the seven dialects. Hence this 
view also does not appeal. 


3: The third and the most satisfactory and unstained 
view is nothing but that the 'Seven ahruf distinction is the 
same as different causes of the various Readings, which 
have been mentioned in the preceding pages. Therefore, the 
seven dialects are preserved even today and continue to be 
recited. However in the early days of Islam the varieties of 

in approach to the Quranic sciences 131 

Recital were many more as was the use of synonymous 
words. This was allowed to accommodate those who found 
difficulty with the language of the Quran. As people 
became used to it, the different synonyms were withdrawn. 
So that many of the Readings stood abrogated by the time 
i he Prophet tjjjg recited the Quran for the last time before 
Jibril 8© (known as the Final Recital or Review) as we will 
see later. However, the Readings that were not abrogated 
continue to this day. They are recital even today. 

In the complex discussion of the "Seven Dialects" this 
is the clear approach that allows all narrations in 
Prophetic traditions to fit in their places nicely. There 
remains no objection or difference and there is no 
confusion either. In the subsequent pages we shall present 
answers to possible doubts so that the truth will become 
clear. But let us first see the names and references of 
those scholars who have adopted this view that has refuted 
the view of Ibn JarTr. 


Hafiz Abul Khair Muhammad Ibn al-Jazari (died 833 
A.H.), who is known as the Great Imam of Qira'at 
(Recital) and was a student of Hafiz Ibn KathJr in Badith 
and Fiqh (Jurisprudence), and was a teacher of Hafiz Ibn 
Hajar, has written in his book 'An-Nashr-fil-Qirlat il 
'Ashr". fS^ 

132 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

jl\ 4*_Jl ^>jj*l\ cr* ***•* J^ J*** 01 *>V1 JU ;_^j V 

Jl .»l..,,...!l Uil j ^iUJl j .JlLJI ^ fr ULJ| 

pi- j *M <Ul yU ^1 l+j,^ ^Jl ^Vl :u>>U <~U 
j cul5 «l^ li^ ii_p- ^J |^J iu-^u r !>LJl <uU J-J^ Js> 
<^>*^\ tt^UV! 0V <ol_^ ^ ^jj|_^ Jyj| IJU 

"As far the question whether the Quran and its copies 

that were compiled by Sayyidina Uthman 4&» comprised 

all the seven versions or not, is a great problem on 

which there are differences among the scholars. The 1 

view of jurists among Reciters is that they consisted of 

all seven letters. They base their opinion on the premise 

that it would be unlawful to give up reproducing any of I 

the seven Readings on which the Quran was revealed, 

and the companions had collectively copied them from 

those written by Abu Bakr and 'Umar U** Juj & ^ Jf 

and one copy each of it was sent to different cities of the 

Muslim world. Simultaneously, they arrived at a 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 133 

consensus to disregard all the other scattered material. 
They assert that neither is it lawful that the recital of any 
letter out of the seven be abolished nor that the 
Companions decide to give up any part of the Quran. 
The majority of earlier scholars and their successors 
hold the same view that the compilations by Sayyidina 
Uthman ^k> consisted of all those letters that could 
merge in their script. And all the letters of the last 
revision of the Quran by the Prophet 2§g with Jibril SS0 
are included in these Books, and no letter has been left 

out. I think that this view is authentic and in conformity 


with accepted traditions. 

And 'Allama Badruddin 'AynT has said: 
<-*j>- j*j f jJl *^j «-fy>«J jy*H UJi Jli j ojf-j (JjJ^\ 

And there is a difference of opinion among the 

158. Ibn Jazari: An-Nashr fil-qira'at-urashr. vl, p31. 
159: "Umdat ul-Qarl, Kitabul Khusumai v2, p258. 

134 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

scholars whether the Quran can now be recited on seven 
letters or not? 'AHamah Ibn Jarir Tabari has denied it 
and states that the recital of Quran today is lawful only 
on one letter which is the letter of Zayd bin Thabit. And 
Qadi Abu Bakr is also inclined to the same view. But 
Imam Abul Hasan Ash'arT states that there is a 
consensus among Muslims that it would not be lawful 
for anyone to abolish or eradicate the facility provided 
by Allah by revealing these letters, and the Ummah is 
not authorised to stop a thing that has been permitted by 
Allah. But the fact is that all the seven letters are 
included in our present recitals and are included in the 
Quran in varied forms, yet specifically they are not 
known. Thus, their recital is lawful even today, and the 
same is the view of the Qadi. 160 All the readings that 
have come down to us through an authentic line of 
transmission are permitted for recital and even 
discriminating one from the other is not necessary. 
Hence, there is no harm if the recital of Nafe 6 can be 
memorised by mixing with that of Kasaland Hamzah. 

And * All amah BadruddTn Zarkashi *4* & *^j has 
quoted Qadi Abu Bakr 4J1P <&' "w^ as under: 

oJ_a ui yx^p-r *.rt\\ iJLS « <S*-> *j! -s^USjI o»1_i>M *_jL_JIj 

Alii ^JL* aIM J^-j ^ cj^J^Lii^lj ^>j$> A*.~Jt iJsy>-V\ 

^ 5jL>cI^Jij <jLo_ip- lg: : Tlj "wjV* <j_lp 1 g ,U . . >» j r^-^J ^a^ 

"The seventh view has been adopted by Qadi 

160: Ret*. Perhaps to Qadi Ayyad. 

161: Details may be seen in an-Nashr fil Qir a tul 'Astir 

I n approach to the Quranic sciences I3S 

Abu-Bakr 162 And he has stated: It is correct that these 
seven Readings have been reported from the Prophet ggg 
and the Imams ahve preserved them, and Sayyidina 
Uthman and companions <$& have included them in the 
Quran." 163 ^>^* 

And 'Allamah Ibn Hazm has also refuted the view of 
IJafiz Ibn JarTr in very strong words. He has stated that the 
views about abolishing six Dlialects is totally wrong, and 
Sayyidina Uthman <$k> could not have done it even if he had 
|0 desired, because the Hafizswere spread to every nook 
and corner of the Islamic world, Hafiz who had committed 
the seven readings to memory. He writes: 

dJJi Jli ^ ^iT Jiii fc~Jl J>j>H\ S*> ^ Cj> ^? Wj" 

VyfA O-JlS" UT **Stt UJ-LP Z*y>ry lglS" 4*~Jl k^^VI Jj 

'"As for the view that Uthman abrogated six letters, 
whoever said it was wrong. If he had done it or intended 
to do it, he would have been out of the fold of Islam 
without the delay of a single moment. 164 The fact is that 
all the seven Readings are fully preserved with us and 
still used in popular recitals." 

And the well-known commentator of Muwatta 'Allamah 
Abul Walld BajT Maliki *> <3H a~-j (Died 494 A.H.) has 

162: Ref. Perhaps to Qadi Abu Bakr Baqillani. 

163: Al-Burhan fi 'Ulumil Quran v. p. 223. 

164: That would have been in case he had abrogased the six Readings. 
According to Hafiz Ibn JarTr he had only given us reading of the 
six Dialects and he is not worthy of the strong words used. 

165: Ibn Hazm: AI fasl til Malal walhawa wan Nabl v2. p77-78. 

J 36 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

explained the "Seven Versions to be the seven variations of 
recitals and written as under:" 

^Sn^-j3 Aj c.1^5 ( j> (J^uJi ^SjJl jL/gall ^vsiJ Vj <J aJail>J 

su ^ J* ^ ^W ol j^ J^ r^j ^ **ft J^ c^ 1 

^ j^i, U «*J Jl ^yl j <*J* Jlp ^Jb^l ybLo j <uLp 

- TT^^' *-rO*^ ^>-U<23 ^P UJju j UXU.J1 4-*j**_P 

We are asked if it is our view that all the seven 
Readings exist even today and hence their recital 
(according to you) is permissible, then we would 
emphatically say 'Yes! This is our view, and the proof 
of its truth is the Word of Allah in the Quran. U^j^jui 
OjlaibJ a3 \j\ j ^SoJi (Surely We have revealed the 
Admonition (the Quran) and surely We are its Guardian 
Al Hijr 15:9) And the Quran cannot be separated from 
its recital in a manner that itself remaining safeguarded 
its recitals are abolished or become extinct. Another 
proof of the validity of our view is that the tradition of 
the Holy Prophet *H clearly affirms that the Quran was 
revealed in seven Readings in order that it be easy for 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 137 

its readers, best conforming to his nature and be nearest 
to his dialect. This is because it is difficult to give up or 
change one's style of conversation of which one has 
become used to. And today we are more in need of this 
facility due to the 'AjmT influence on our language and 
our alienation from Arabic eloquence." 166 

And Imam Ghazzali has defined the Quran in his book 
"Al-Mustafa" as under. 

Sjj^AJI 3U~Jl ^^\ J^ cJ^^Ji jxi & LJI Jjai L." 

_ \y \j!a LLoJ 

(The discourse that has reached us uninterrupted in 
accordance with the popular seven Readings bound in 
two cardboards as the Book.) 

It is evident from this that Imam Ghazali also believed 
in the perpetual existence of the seven Readings. 

And Mulla 'Ali QarT U* Jbi JUp-j (died 1014 AH) has 

And it seems that it was inspired to the Prophet jH that 
ultimately seven recitals (of the Quran) will be left 
among his people. Hence the same are existing today 
and there is a consensus on their being continuous. And 
the majority believes that recitals other than these are 

166: Abul Walld Al-Baji Al-Muntaqa Sharah Al-Muwatta vl, p34. 
167: Al-Mustafa vl, p65 Egypt 1356 AH. 

138 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

very rare and thus not permissible." 

Here, Mulla 'Ali Qari is not right in saying that all the 
recitals other than the seven are rare or extinct, because this 
has been strongly rebutted by the scholars of Qira'at, 
but one thing is evident that according to him the seven 
versions exist even today. 

The view of Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi has 
been described earlier, that he attributes the 'seven' to 
% many\ In explaining it he has written as under. 

And the argument on the fact that the number 'seven' 
used in the Hadith stands for excess and not limitation 
is that the Imams have unanimity on ten recitals and of 
the ten each has two narrations different from each 

other. In this way the number of recitals has reached 

♦ 169 

up to twenty. 

In this phrase although Shah Waliullah has attributed the 
number 'seven' to mean an abundance against the views of 
the majority of scholars (perhaps the dependence of twenty 
recitals on seven reasons of variations was not clear to him) 
but one thing is clear that in his view the Ahrtif mentioned 
in the Hadith are "Recitals" and they have neither been 
abrogated nor given up, exist even today. 

In the latest era, the Imam of Religious Learnings, 
great Research Scholar of the age and Hafiz of Hadith 
(knowing Hadith by heart), 'Allama Anwar Shah 
Kashmiri a~Lp -8»i Ju^-j has probed into the details of this 
Hadith and brought forth in a nutshell the results of his 
research which may be considered as the last word in 
this matter. 

We are reproducing the full text of his study in the 
following lines: 

168: An-Nashra fil Qirat-il-'Ashr, vl, p33 

169. Al-Musaffa, 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 139 

^>^Vlj ^Jl c^UyLil ^ jU^i ^ aji ^i oW^Ul 

0.M..J C~>1 -JcJl oJufc (l^-* <l g *:g *•""* J J*>- g 11 c^^*^ 'j^'J 
^^-^l oJu* 01 p-$i ^ Aziz- j 'A-'IjJ *— ^r^ °^^" j' CU5^ 
ax^JI^Jlp ^JlS^ -ol L*l L^pL*jotI jwbcb *Ji^>h l^IS" o^jlic^* 

^1 £*">• U-^ «^l3^vaJl 01 (ji>- J 1$jy*i\ ^\ 4J1 4^r^I3 
vlUj 01 ^i (O^l ^JL * "^jUjJJl J ^y^Ua— iJl ^>rlj J 4jt~Ji 

er^ <^ J^ •j**^ *->/!* ^ f **~Jl ^ tMtf* °^ U 
^y^* ^^^ ^J uUip Ji^wa^ ^y o-^lJ *1S" *-L- j *sJ^ 4JJ1 

140 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

"know it well that all the scholars have a consensus 
on the fact that "Seven Dialects" does not mean the 
popular seven recitals, and also it is not true that 
every letter be one of the seven Recitals. This means 
that "Seven Recitals" and "Seven Dialects" are not 
the same thing as may be mistaken from the word 
"Seven" in the first sight. But there is a relation in 
the generalisation and specification between these 
Dialects and "Seven Recitals," and how can they be 
the same when the recitals are not limited to seven as 
has been explained by 'Allamah Ibn-Jazari in his An 
Nashr fil Qira'atil-'Ashr. However, the word of 
"Seven Recitals" has become popular because 
'Allamah Shatbi had compiled these very "Seven 
Recitals." Know it further that some people think that 
there is a total alienation between the seven letters 
and there is no link among them. In fact it is not so, 
but sometimes the difference between two letters 
pertains only to solitary phrase or additional phrase, 
and sometimes that of conjugation, sometimes that of 
past and present tenses, and sometimes only that of 
retaining the (fjamzah) and simplifying it. Thus, all 

170. Faid ul-Bari v. 3 pp321-322. Some of the recitals are of the 
'Seven Dialects' for instance, all the contriving Readings and 
some are not from it as the rare ones or the ones without dispute. 
Some of the differences of the 4 Seven Dialects' are not part of the 
Seven Readings, e.g. the recitals of Imam Ya'qub, Imam Abu 
Ja'far and their successors although of the seven Dialects they are 
not of the seven Readings. (Muhammad TaqT.) 

»'» approach to the Quranic sciences 141 

these variations, big or small, are constant letters, 
and they are wrong who think that there is a total 
alienation among the letters and it is impossible for 
them to be united in one word or senstense. As for 
the question as to what is meant by the number 
'Seven' in the Hadith this has been answered by Ibn 
Jazari and he has deduced that this denotes the 
number of variations. In this matter Qastalani and 
Zarqani may also be seen. The only thing now 
remains is whether all these letters still exist or some 
of them have been abrogated and only some are 
existing. So, know it that all such letters exist in the 
Book compiled by Sayyidina Uthmah ^ as Jibril SSSI 
had recited with the Prophet $| during the revision of 
the Quran, and since the meanings of the "Letters" 
could not be well conceived by Ibn Jarlr he adopted 
the view that six letters were abolished and only one 

Similarly, the well known Researcher of Egypt in the 
recent times 'Allamah Zahid-ul-Kauthari (D.1371 AH) 
writes as under: 

pii pi- j aJs> 4)1 JU ^yJl X^ ^ 5^ VI =ubyJL o->«~J 
JU; -0)1 ^j ol*i* OL ^UJI ^\j _, Jb-! j ^>^-VI J*. 

ijSj 1-U < j5J oyubi ^U <1^ j r y_j>r >£ \^j aJI j <4>Jl^J 

142 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

"The first opinion (thai the present recital is in fact a 
composite of different forms of a single letter) is held by 
those who say that the seven letters existed in the early 
days of Islam and then they were abolished in the time 
of the Prophet 3gg. 

Just after the last revision of the Quran by him with 
Jibril 9$ and only one letter was left. The same is the 
opinion of those who say that Sayyidina Uthman *$k> had 
obtained a consensus on one letter and due to some 
expedient reason abolished the recital of other six letters. 
Ibn Janr holds this view and many a people overawed 
by him have followed him, but in fact this is a very 
audacious and dangerous view, which Ibn Hazm has 
very forcefully refuted in his "Al-Fasl" and 
"AI-Ehkam." He had every authority for this. The 
second opinion (that the present recital itself is the 
"Seven Letters") is held by those who say that these are 
letters which are being preserved safely since the last 
revision of the Prophet «|t with Jibril 9SA". 

We have quoted all these views in detail because now 
the view of 'Allamah Ibn JarTr TabarT alone has gained 
popularity, and because of his exalted stature it is regarded 
as free from all doubts and suspicions. It is for this reason 
that the transparent and doubtless view of Ibn-ul-Jazari is 
either not known to people or it is regarded as a weak 
argument, while our earlier discussion has made it clear 
that scholars like Imam Malik, 'Allamah Ibn Qutaybah 

171: Al-Kauthari: Maqalat ul Kauthari, pp20,21 Cairo 1372 AH. 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 143 

•Allamah Abul Fadl Razi, Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn Tayyib, 
'Imam Abul Hasan Ash'ari, Qadi Ayyad, 'Allamah Ibn 
I.Iazm, 'Allamah Abul WalTd BajT, Imam Ghazzali and 
Mullah 'All QarT are all agreed that the seven letters are 
preserved and exist even today. None of the versions 
remaining at the time of the Final Review ('Ardatul 
Alchirah)' of the Prophet St has been abrogated or given 
up. In fact Ibnul Jazari has stated that his view had obtained 
a consensus of the majority of scholars even before him. 
Scholars of die latest era, namely Shah Waliullah, Anwar 
Shah Kashmiri and 'Allamah Zahid Kauthari hold the same 
view. Also, the popular scholars of Egypt, 'Allamah 
Muhammad NajTt Muty'T 'Allamah KhudrT Damyati and 
Shaikh 'Abdul 'Azlm Zarqanl also adopted the same view. 
Hence, arguments apart, simply by virtue of the 
personalities this view becomes the most forceful one. 172 


We present the reasoning behind this view. Some of the 
arguments have already been mentioned while some more 
are presented below. 
1: The Quranic verse 

£ J 

Ot>>i&J aJ lift 'f&\ Lfjj y>j Ui 

Surely We have revealed the Admonition (the Quran) 
and surely We are its Guardian. (AI-Hijr, 15:9) 

"We Alone would safeguard" clearly denotes that the 
verses of the Quran are not abrogated by Allah Himself 
and would exist till the Day of Resurrection. Several 
traditions have already been quoted that signify the 
Seven Dialects of the Quran were Divine Revelations. 
Hence, the verse implies that the Seven Dialects shall 

172: Manahil ul-'Irfan vl, pl51. 

144 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

remain preserved till the Day of Ressurrection. 

2: If Sayyidina Uthman 4® had compiled the Quran on 

one letter after abolishing six letters there must have 

been some mention of it in the vast treasure of 

Afjadith. But it is not so. On the contrary, there are 

clear indications that all Seven Dialects were included 

in scripture prepared by him, further that he had got 

this scripture prepared in accordance with the 

parchments collected by Sayyidina Abu Bakr *&> and 

the two were matched together after it was written. 

Sayyidina Zayd bin Thabit 4& has stated.... 

"1 compared the scripture with these parts and there 

was no difference in them." tfafiz Ibn Jarlr also concedes 

that the seven Dialects were extant in the times of Abu 

Bakr 4& so his copies should have had these included in 

them. So, if Uthman <^& had removed them Zayd bin 

Thabit <$&> could not have said as he did, 

"There was no difference in them." 173 
3: 'Allamah Ibnul AnbarT has quoted the famous Tabai'i 
(successor) 'Ubaydah Salmani in Kitab-ul-Masahif as 

-U^VI '<^A ls* W^ ^U^ o" Ul £-~ or 31 ^A 

Our recital on which Uthman 4^e> collected the people 
was that of "Last Revision' of the Quran by the 
Prophet $i. 174 
This statement of 'Ubaydah *Jp M X+*-j clearly indicates 

173: Mushkil ul Tfthar v4, pi 93. 

174: Konzul 'ummal, Hadith No- 4840 vl, Dairatul Ma'arif, Daccan 
1312 AH. The same tradition has been reported byjbn Hajar in 
Musnad Ahmad. Abu Dawod and Tabari Fatah al Ban v9, p36. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 145 

that Sayyidina Uthman *&& had not omitted any of those 
letters that existed at the time of Last Revision (of the 
Prophet M with Jibril &§). ^^J 

Some people have inferred from this that the Last 
Revision was done on one letter (of Quraysh) only and 
Uthman ^h had a consensus on this same letter. But this is 
extremely unlikely that letters that were not abrogated 
would have remained excluded from this Revision. 
4: Muhammad bin Sinn *-1p M *-**-j is also a famous 
Tabai'T (successor). 'Allamah Ibn Sad ^ ^ ^*-j has 
quoted him as under: 

jr jju > a> h j^ ^ J* o«>a» j*j*> j-v* as* 

"Jib'rfl $Sl used to present (for revision) the Quran 
before the Holy Prophet ^ once every year in the 
month of Ramadan. In the year in which the Prophet $t$ 
died, Jibril $£S presented it (for revision) twice. Thus, I 
hope that our present recital is in accordance with this 
Last Revision. 175 

5: Sayyidina 'Amir Sha'bT U*- i&\ ;u^- j is also a famous Tabai'i 
and he had taken lessons from seven hundred Companions. 
Ibn ul Jazari aJp in ***-j has quoted similar statement from 

him also. 

These three personalities were the successors of the 
Companions and had lived just after the era of Sayyidina 
Uthman «^&. Therefore their opinion on this subject has the 
seal of authority. 

175: Ibn Sa'd: at-Tabqat ul Rubra. v2. pi 95 Part 6 Darasadar Beirut 
1376 AH. 

146 ** approach to the Quranic sciences 

6: In the vast collection of Ahadith we could not find a ] 

single example that could prove that there were two kinds 1 

of differences in the recital of the Quran, one pertaining I 

to Seven Dialects and the other to Recitals. On the I 

contrary, we learn from many narrations that the two 1 

were one and the same thing, because the terms I 

"Difference in Recitals" and "Difference in Letters or I 

Dialects" have been used for one and the same difference. I 

For example, Ubayy bin Ka'ab has stated as under: 1 

a> \$£& i t\j \J& j^ j^ j^ j^_j^ c _ ur 1 

bUj '°^ ^^ ^ ^^ 2f\J ^^ I t\J Ija^oj I 

^l^> l^ ^ l^ \ji ^ J^ ; ^ ^y^., ^y. I 


U pX*j <Op <d)| J^, aUi J^ ^ ^ Ua^j, j ,, <m 
Jl Oi^llyl 01 'JI J^| J^ ^ pi y b J JU3 li> 

c> ft U' ^ Wl J b > ^ c> ^ oi -ji co> ^.^ 

J^ •L 81 *^ ^ ^> <£' J* 0> 01 aJI oa>> ^J^ 

"I was in the mosque when a man entered and started 
offering Salah. He recited the Quran in a way that 
appeared unfamiliar to me. Then another man came and 
he made a recital that was different from that of the first 

Ait approach to the Quranic sciences 147 

man. So when we finished our Salah we all went to the 
Prophet 3!s|. I said to him, "This man made a recital that 
was unfamiliar to me, then another man came and he 
read a recital different from the first one." He asked 
both of them to recite. When they recited, the Prophet 
^ commended both of them. On this my heart was 
tilled with such doubts about him as had not entered my 
mind even in my pre-lslamic days. When the Prophet 
sensed my feelings he struck at my chest due to which I 
sweated heavily and in a state of fear I felt as if I was 
seeing Allah before me. Then he said, "O Ubayy. my 
Lord had sent me the message to recite the Quran on 
one Letter. In response to this I requested for facility for 
my Ummah and He sent me message to recite it on two 
Letters. Again I requested for further facility for my 
Ummah then He sent me the third message that I should 
read it on Seven Letters. " ,76 

According to this narrative Ubayy bin Ka'ab ^> 
repeatedly referred to the difference in reading of the two 
persons as difference in recital, and this is what the Prophet 
S$| has called the variation of Seven Letters. It becomes 
obvious that in the Prophetic era the difference in recital 
and difference of letters was regarded as one and the same 
thing. There is no proof against this, supporting the idea of 
these two things being separate entities. And this proves 
that both are one and the same 'thing. So, when the 
preservation of recitals is proved through consensus and 
continuity, it follows automatically that the Seven Letters 
(or, Dialects), too, are preserved even to this day. 

In the light of above arguments' it becomes quite clear 
that whatever was left of the Seven Letters at the time of 

176: Sahih Muslim vlp.273. Asah-ul-MutabM; Delhi 1349 AH. 

148 All approach to the Quranic sciences 

Last Revision had all been incorporated in the copy 
prepared by Sayyidina Uthman 4fe and it is preserved and 
safeguarded till today, it has neither been abrogated nor 
was recital prohibited by anyone. However, it appears 
essential that for a complete clarification all such questions 
be answered as may be raised on this view. 


1: The first question that can be raised on this view is that 
if Sayyidina Uthman *&> has retained and preserved the 
Seven Letters what is his exclusive achievement that 
gave him the title "Compiler of the Quran?" 
The answer is that although innumerable Companions 
had learnt the Quran by heart yet there existed only one 
standard copy of the Quran that was collected by Sayyidina 
Abu Bakr Siddiq 4$b. This was not in the form a Book, but 
every Surah was written on separate parchments. Some 
Companions had, however kept their books individually. 
There was in them no unanimity of script or sequence of the 
Surahs, nor the Seven Letters were incorporated in them. 
Everyone had written and compiled it in version he had 
learnt from the Prophet M. Thus, one Book was written on 
one letter while the other was written on a different letter. 
As long as the Prophetic era was close and the link of 
Muslims with the centre (Madina) was firm and strong such 
differences did not create any notable problem because the 
Quran actually rested in the memory of the Companions 
rather than on these books and parchments, and the majority 
of Companions knew that the Quran was revealed on seven 
letters. But when Islam spread far and wide and new persons 
entered its fold, they learnt the Quran on one letter each, and 
the fact that the Quran was revealed on Seven Letters was 
not known to all of them. Hence differences arose among 
them. Everyone then thought his own recital to be authentic 

iii approach to the Quranic sciences 149 

ind that of others as spurious. But since the individual copies 
were also different in Letters and scripts, with no provision 
to incorporate all the Seven Letters in them, there was no 
Standard copy of the Quran available to them to which they 
« > Mild refer to remove their differences. 

In these circumstances Sayyidma I Ithman *$& felt that if 
i Ins state of affairs continued and standard copies of the 
Quran were not provided all over the Islamic world, and 
personal copies not withdrawn, it would lead to great 
mischief. Hence he took the following steps: 
i) He prepared seven standard copies of the Quran and 

sent them to different areas, 
ii) The script was such that all Seven Letters were 

incorporated in it. Hence words were without dots and 

diacritical marks aiid they could be read according to 

every Letter, 
iii) All the personal copies which were possessed 

individually were burnt and buried, 
iv) He imposed a restriction that, in future, all copies of 

the Quran should be written in conformity with these 

seven originals. 
v) The collection of Sayyidina Abu Bakr -4* was in the 

form of script comprising separate Surahs. Sayyidina 

Uthman ^ compiled them into one book. 

Sayyidina Uthman" s «$fe purpose in initiating these 
measures was to bring about a uniformity, throughout the 
world of Islam, in the script and in the sequence of the 
Surahs in the scriptures and to incorporate in them all the 
Seven Letters, leaving no room for anybody to reject a 
correct recital or insist on a wrong one, and making it 
possible for them to resolve their difference in recital 
through reference to the standard scriptures. 

This is evident from a statement of Sayyidina Ali ^ 
that has been reported by Imam Abu Dawood in his book 

150 A " approach to the Quranic sciences 

"Kitabul Masahif" with authentic precedents as under: 

J* ^-Ul cr ^j o\ tsj\ Jli V^/ Ui Ldi ,1^5" DjS^ 

Sayyidina Ali ^ said. "Say nothing about Uthiran <# 
excepi what is good for him. because, by Allah! 
Whatever he did about the scriptures was done in our 
presence. He had consulted us and enquired our view 
about these recitals and said. 1 am receiving information 
that some people say to others thai their recital was 
better than that of others, although this is an utterance 
very close to disbelief. On this we asked Uthiran 4b 
what is your opinion? He said, I propose that we unite 
all people on one scripture so that there remain no 
differences or anomalies. We all said, you have brought 
a very good proposal". 177 

This tfadith is manifestly clear about the undertaking of 
Sayyidina Uthman 4k. It clearly states that he wanted to 
compile a scripture the recital of which could be universally 
adopted and thereafter no room be left for calling a • 
particular rendering to be wrong or rare or to be the only 
correct recital. 178 

Further, Ibn Ashtah U* &\ i^ | ias quoted Sayyidina 
Anas -4© as under: 

177. Kiiab-ul-Masahif -Abu-Dawood p P 22. Rabmanh. Press Egypt 

1355 AH and Fatah al-Ban v9. p!5 
178: Al-Itqan vl, p61. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 151 

b <1^>J ^iS^j CjJSo" JL&I J 15* ^ip cjjb ^oJ <ui j^>JLJ 

Differences arose about the Quran in the time of 
Sayyidina Uthman 4@& so much that young students 
quarreled with their teachers. When the news reached 
'Uthman «$& he said, you are disavowing (the correct 
recitals) and making mistakes although you are close to 
me. So, those who are living far away from me must be 
doing so in a greater measure. So, O Companions of 
Muhammad g8| come together and prepare a Scripture for 
the people that may be followed. "This clearly indicates 
that the purpose of Sayyidina Uthman a^ behind it was 
not to abolish any Letter of the Quran. Rather, he was 
grieved that some people denied the existence of correct 
Letters, and some people insisted on wrong method of 
recital. Hence, he wanted to compile a standard copy of 
the Quran for the entire Islamic world/* 


2: The second question that arises is that Sayyidina 
Uthman ^ instructed the committee under Zayd bin 
Thabit <^> to compile the Quran that: 

179; Many 'Ulama have described the work of Sayyidina Uthman in 
this manner. See al-Fasl ft] Malal vval Ahvvai. wnn-Nfhdl. Ibn 
tfazm v7, p77, and Al-Bayan Til DlIFm il Quran. Mawlana 
'Abdul tfaq OaqqanT chapter 2. p 62 Na'Tmiya Press, Deoband. 
Mana hil al Mrfan Zarqanlvl. p48-256. 

152 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

If there be a difference among you and Zayd bin Thabit 
about any part of the Quran then write il in the language 
Off Quraysh because the Quran has been revealed in their 
language." 180 

If he had retained all the Seven Letters why had he 
uiven such instructions? 

The answer to this question is that in fact this is the 
very sentence which led Inn JarTr and some other scholars 
to think that Sayyidina Uthman -4& abolished six Letters 
and retained only the letter of Quraysh in the Quran. But a 
careful examination of this instruction would reveal that a 
wrong inference has been drawn by these people. If we 
consider this instruction alongwith other traditions in this 
context, it becomes obvious that he only meant that in the 
event of any difference arising during transcription of the 
Quran the script of Quraysh should be adopted. This is 
proved from the fact that during the transcription of the 
entire Quran only one difference arose which has been 
described by Imam ZahrT as under: 

<^-»^jLJi j~Jj ^jjjlyjjl JUai a *jCJ> j <u f>^ J* A ' A y_ I *J&Cs*-\£ 

"So. there arose a difference on the writing of »j>\j or dy\j. 
The Quraysh said it is o^u but Zayd bin Thabit ^ said it 
should be 5_*t>.The difference was brought to the notice of 
Uthman 4$b who said, "Write it as Oj-bJi because the 
Quran has been revealed in the language of Quraysh. ,81 

1 80: Bukhari: Faih-nl-Bari vO. pi 6. 

181: Fath-ul-BarT v9. pl6. Kan/ ul'Ummal. vl. p282. Haclilh 4783 
on the reference of Ibn Sa*d and others and reference, Tirmizl. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences l53 

It is obvious that the difference between Zayd and 
Quraysh Companions, as mentioned by Sayyidina Uthman 
rfsgfe, pertained to script and not to language. 


3: The third question that can he raised is that the 
explanation for differences of Seven Letters given by 
Sayyidina Abu Bakr <$e> apparently denotes that these 
Seven Letters could not be incorporated in the Book 
prepared by Sayyidina Uthman 4fr because he says: 

Jal^J JL- ^uT wili IS" Jli .a_j»^-i ^--w ^L j^ o>^\ 

jjjbhj^i J*J^y j^ -^-^ **>vj' *~^J v^j*^ 

-J^ jcr* J ^ - 

Jibril M said. "O Muhammad, Read the Quran on one 
Letter." Mikall said lo the Prophet to ask for addition 
to it, until they reached Seven Letters and JibrTl W& said 
each one of them would he sufficient unless you change 
the verse of mercy with that of torment or vice versa. It 
will he as if you substitute the meaning of Jw (come) 
with words like ^^«.^*i> .^U.jj* and J*** 182 

It is evident from this Hadith that the difference of 
Seven Letters was in fact the difference of synonyms, that 
is, one word is used in one rendering while in the other a 
synonym is used although the recitals incorporated in the 
collection of Sayyidina Uthman -£- have very few such 
difference. In these recitals the differences mostly pertain to 
sound, grammar, gender and dialects. 

182: These words are found in Musnad Abmacl with a proper line of 
transmission. (Aujaz ul-Masalik v 2. p357) 

**4 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

The answer to this question is that in the definition of 
"Seven Letters" that we have adopted, seven variations of 
recitals have been described one of which is the use of 
synonyms. Sayyidina Abu'Bakr 4fe has not given a full 
explanation of "Seven Letters" but has given only one 
example of it and only one kind of variation, that is the use 
of synonyms. 

Such use of synonyms was very common in the early 
days of Islam because all Arabs were not fully conversant 
with the Quraysh dialect. Hence greater flexibility was 
allowed in the beginning that they could read the Quran 
with any of the synonyms they had heard from the Prophet 
M. Hence in the beginning quite frequently one recital had 
one word and another had its synonyms. When people 
became familiar with the Quranic language this type of 
variation in recitals was gradually minimized. When the 
Prophet % revised the Quran twice with Jibril W, most of 
these synonyms were abrogated and thus the difference in 
synonyms was brought down to a bare minimum. 

Sayyidina Uthman <t$b did not incorporate such 
synonyms in his scripture as were abrogated in the "Last 
Revision" because their state had now become like the 
abrogated verses. However, the variations of recitals that 
were retained in the "Last Revision*' were also retained by 
him. Thus the variation quoted by Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4fe 
in the above tjadlth is just an example, most of which were 
abrogated in the "Last Revision" and hence could not be 
incorporated in the 'Uthmani scripture, nor the present 
recitals include them. 

The foregoing conclusions are summarised in three points: 
1 : Several recitals of the Quran were abrogated during the 
^•"Last Revision" of (he Quran by the Prophet % with 
Jibril m. 

Sayyidina Uthman -4s. got his scripture compiled 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 155 

according to this "Last Revision". 

3: The variation of synonyms as described by Abu Bakr 
<$k> is not present in the "Uthmani scripture. The third 
conclusion is obvious and arguments about the second 
have been given earlier, of which the most apt 
statement is the one of 'Ubaydah Salmani a-U- in W-j 
that the recital on which Sayyidina 'Uthman ^ united 
us was in accordance with the "Last Revision". 183 
Now remains the first conclusion that several recitals 

were abrogated at the time of "Last Revision". The 

argument for this is provided by the view of Research 

Scholar Ibnul JazarT quoted below. 

-^ '°j^- V' 4-isyJl ^ <Ui ^Ip j <U* it_^J jl'yiJl jl ^^JLi ^ « 

•Op Jz^i J15 S^ fU JT J> ?^J\ «uU Jj^ Jlp Of>Jl 

184 1 . . . <*J i. 

And there is no doubt that a good deal in the Quran was 
abrogated and altered at the time of "Last Revision* 4 , 
because it has been clarified by several Companions^. 
We have received the narration of Zirr ibn Hubaysh *£$> 
with authentic sources that Ibn 'Abbas <$& asked him 
which recital he followed. He replied "The last recital"! 
Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet used to revise the Quran 

83: Kanzul *UmmaUJ4adiih #484. vi. p286. 
84: An-Nashr fil-Qiral-i I 'Astir vl, p32. 

156 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

with Jibril > feB once everv year, so in the vear o\ his 
death he revised it twice Whatever was abrogated or 
changed on this occasion, Abdullah bin Mas'ud. was 
witness to that*" 185 

it is obvious that on the occasion of "Last Revision" 
many of the recitals were abrogated by Allah Himself. The 
variations of synonyms described by Abu Bakr ^ must 
have been abrogated at that time because Sayyidina 
"Uthman *£fa has compiled the copies of the Quran in 
accordance with the Last Revision and the variations of 
synonyms are only rarely found in them. 


4: The fourth doubt that can be raised on the above 


mentioned view is that it is proved through several 

narrations that Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud 4$& was 

not happy with the compilation of the Quran done by 

Sayyidina 'Uthman ^ and he did not allow his own 

transcript to be burnt. So if Sayyidina "Uthman ^fc had 

not abolished six Letters where was the reason of the 

objection by -Abdullah bin Mas'utl *$&? 

The answer to this objection is that in fact 'Abdullah 

bin Mas'ud •**?& had two objections on the work done by 

Sayyidina 4 Uthman *$b. First, why was he not associated 

with task of transcription of the Quran, and secondly, why 

the other transcripts were burnt? 

Imam Zuhri has been quoted in a narration in Sahih 
TirmizT that Sayyidina "Abdullah bin Mas'ud *4& had a 
grievance as to why he was not given task when he had a 
longer record of the Prophet's company than Zayd bin 

185: Hafiz Ibn Hajar has also reproduced different versions on this 
subject (Fath ul Bar! v9, p36) 

Alt approach to the Quranic sciences J 57 

Thabit. Sayyidina *Uthman's plea in this connection was 
that the task was being done in Madinah while 'Abdullah 
bin Mas'ud was in Kufah (Iraq) at that time and a delay 
was not desirable. Sayyidina Abu Bakr ^& had also 
entrusted the responsibility to Zayd bin Thabit. For this 
reason also he thought it proper to let Zayd continue the 

task. (Fathul Blri v9 pl6) 

The other objection of Sayyidina "Abdullah bin Mas'sd 
4$£> was that Sayyidina 'Uthman had ordered to burn all 
other transcripts after those compiled by Zayd and his 
committee". He was not prepared to burn the one he had 
with him. Abu Musa Ash'arT *4# and Huzayf'ah bin Yaman 
4& met him to persuade him to burn that copy. But he said: 

y^w* ^j *As> ajji j^ aIsi j^j ^i^i <rf ji a^^i y*ti\j 

"By Allah I would not hand over this transcript to them. 
The Prophet 3j| taught me more than seventy Surahs 
directly. Should I still hand it over to them? By God I 
will not give it to them." 

Sayyidina Abdullah bin Mas'ud ^fe also advised others 
not to hand over those transcripts in their possession which 
they had copied from him. Sayyidina Khumayr bin Malik 
has said. 


J^ aIjI Jj^j ^ ^ ^\j JU ^ .JJOi aJl^^ 3I, 61 

aBi ^j^-j^J ^ cui^-l L. ii/lil tijj^ j^^ JL, _, U^ aI3I 

186: Mustadrak Hakim v2, p228, Da'iratul Ma'arir" Dacan 1340 AH. 
Hakim has said that the Hadith is sound. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

-"Ju- J 

, 1 

When changes in other transcripts were ordered 
'Abdullah bin Mas'ud <^e> asked the people to hide their 
transcripts if they can do it.... Then he said, 

"I have learnt seventy Surahs from the Prophet ^. 
Should I then give up a thing that I have directly learnt 
from the holy lips of the Prophet?". 187 

From this it appears that the transcript of 'Abdullah bin 
Mas'ud ^& was slightly different from that of Sayyidina 
'Uthman *£<k> and so he wanted to keep it safe. But what was 
different in it? We do not find any conclusive evidence in 
authentic narrations about it. Apparently it seems that they 
basically differed in the sequence of various Surahs. It has 
been already mentioned that in the transcripts of Sayyidina 
Abu Bakr -4^> the Surahs were not arranged but every Surah 
was written separately. Sayyidina 'Uthman «^>, however, 
arranged the Surahs in particular sequence in his 
transcripts. Imam Hakim states. 

The compilation of the Quran was not completed at one 
time. Some of it had been complied during the presence 
of the Prophet St, then some of it was compiled at the 
time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq 4^e>, and the third 
stage of its compilation was when its Surahs were 

187: Al-Fathur Rabbani (TabwTb. Masnad Ahmad) v8, p35 Egypt, 
1373 AH. 

» » approach to the Quranic sciences 159 

arranged. This task was done during the time of 
Sayyidina 'Uihman bin "Attan 4$», the thrid caliph. 188 

The transcript of Sayyidina -Abdullah bin Mas'ud 4fe 
was quite different in the sequence of Surah's. For 
example, it had Surah-an- Nisei before Surah Aal 'imran. 189 
Probably Ibn Mas'ud had learnt the Quran from the Prophet 
% in the sequence adopted in his transcript, and he wished 
that this transcript should exist in that sequence. This is 
supported by a narration of 'Sahih Bukhari' that a person 
from Iraq once came to Sayyidah 'Aishah i&* Juiiit^j; 

He said y Ummul Mu'minTn! Show me your transcript." 
She asked, "Why? He said, 'So that I arrange my 
Quranic transcript according to yours because in our 
land it is recited without any regard to its sequential 
order." She said, "Whichever part of the Quran you 


read first will not do you any harm." 

Explaining this tradition Hafiz Ibn Hajar *-U &\ i^j 
has written that the Iraqi was following the recitals of Ibn 
Mas'ud and since he had not changed or destroyed his 
transcript, the sequence of the Surahs was different from 
those of Sayyidina 'Uthman's transcripts, and the latter 
sequence was better in order. That is why the Iraqi 
considered his transcript as disarranged in comparison to 
the transcriptions of Sayyidina 'Uthinan 4&. 191 

188: Al-Mustadrak, Hakim, v2, p229. 

189: \Allamah_Suyuu has reporduced the entire sequence of Surahs of 
Ibn Mas'ud with reference to Ibn Ashta. This sequence is very 
much different from the trascripts of Sayyidina "Uthman 4^b. 

190: Sahih Bukhari: Chapter Tallful Quran. 

191: Fath uI-Bari, v9, p32. 

160 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

It appears from this tradition that the transcript of Ibn 
Mas'ud *$b was basically different in the sequence of 
Surahs. In addition, there may have been a difference in 
the script also, and possibly it was written in a script that 
did not incorporate all the recitals as against the 
transcripts of Sayyidina Uthman *£&. 

Otherwise, if we go by what Hafiz Ibn Jarlr says that 
4 Uthman *$& had got the Quran transcribed on one single 
Letter after abolishing six Letters, and the transcription of 
'Abdullah bin Mas'ud was written in one of the six, the 
following objections can be raised: 

i) In the above mentioned tradition of Sahih Bukhari the 
Iraqi mentioned the difference of sequence only. If 
there was a difference of Letters as well, he should 
have mentioned them in view of greater importance 
attached to it. 
ii) According to the view of Hafiz Ibn Jarlr and others, 
the Seven Letters stand for Seven Dialects of different 
tribes. If that were true, there should have been no 
difference in the transcription of 'Abdullah bin -Mas'ud 
■4& and that of 'Uthman <$jk> because this view also 
holds that Sayyidina 'Uthman **§& had got them written 
on the Letter of Quraysh. and Sayyidina Abdullah bin 
Mas'ud *^y was also a Qurayshi. 
iii) The strongest argument offered by Hafiz Bin JarTr 
and his followers about the abrogation of six Letters 
is that there was a consensus of the Companions on 
this action. If Ibn Mas'ud 4fe used to recite the Quran 
on a different letter and validated its transcription as 
such, how can it be considered to be a consensus 
which must include a companion of his stature. Some 
scholars have claimed that Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin 
Mas'ud *$>> had later accepted the opinion held by 
Sayyidina 'Uthman -*£&, but there is no definite 

An approach to the Quranic sciences jgj 

evidence available to support this view. Hafiz Ibn 

Hajar has written, 

"Ibn Abi Dawood has included a chapter under the 

heading 'Agreement of Ibn Mas'ud *&> on the 

action of Sayyidina 'Uthman 4#b, but he could not 

produce any relevant tradition to support this 


We do not get an answer to these objections in the 
statements of Hafiz Ibn JarTr U* h :u*. Jt Hence it is 
concluded that Sayyidina 'Uthmin <&> had retained all the 
Seven Letters in his Transcripts and Sayyidina Ibn Mas'ud's 
4& objection did not show that the six Letters were 
abolished. 193 In fact nothing like that had happened and his 
objection pertained to why the_ transcripts other than those 
compiled by Sayyidina 'Uthman 4#b were being destroyed 
while they were also correct only because they differed in 
sequence of Surahs and script. 


The discussion on "Seven Letters" has become rather 
lengthy. We many sum up the conclusions drawn so that 
they are easily digested. 

a) t For the convenience of his people the Prophet $| 

begged from Allah that the recital of the Quran may 
not be limited to one system, but permission be granted 
to recite it in different ways. Hence the Quran was 
revealed on Seven Letters. 

b) The correct meaning of revelation on Seven Letters is 
that Seven variations were allowed in recital. As a 

192: Fathul Bari v9, p40. 

193: There is only one narration in Musnad Ahmad from which it 
appears that Sayyidina 'Uthman 4&> had abolished six Letters 
and Sayyidinajbn Mas'ud had objection to that 
(Al-Fath-ur-RabbanTvl8, p369) but the narration is weak 
because an ignorant person has reported it. 

162 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

result several recitals came to be used. 

c) In the beginning, of the seven basic points of 
differences in recital, differences in words and use of 
synonyms was very common. It was quite frequent 
that a word used in one recital was replaced by its 
synonym in another recital. But gradually, as the 
people of Arabia became more and more acquainted 
with the Quranic language such variations were 
reduced, and by the time of 'Last Revision' of the 
Quran by the Prophet <$jg with Jibril $H this type of 
differences, had become negligible, and only the 
differences that concerned composition of tenses, 
genders, singular and plural, active and passive tenses 
and variations of accent had remained. 

d) All the variations that remained at the time of the Last 
Revision, were incorporated by Sayyidina 'Uthman £&> 
in his transcripts. Words were left free of dots and 
vowel marks to accommodate variation in recital. 
Hence most of the variations of recitals were merged in 
it, and those recitals that could not be merged into one 
transcript were shown in other transcripts. Thus, 
occasionally there occurred a difference of one or two 
words in the several transcripts of Sayyidina 'Uthman 


e) In this manner Sayyidina 'Uthman <§$£> got seven 
transcripts written, and also arranged the Surahs in a 
sequence while these Surahs were not arranged in the 
Transcripts of Sayyidina Abu Bakr <g§&. Further, he 
prescribed a script for the Quran, and all those 
transcripts that were different from this sequence and 
script were burnt. 

f) Sayyidina Abdullah bin Mas'ud <*£& retained his 
transcript whose sequence was different from the 
'Uthmanic Transcripts. He wanted to preserve this 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 163 

sequence, hence he did not hand over his Transcript to 
Sayyidina 'Uthman 4^e> to be burnt. 



A misunderstanding removed: 

In the end, it seems essential to remove another basic 
misunderstanding that a cursory reader of the foregoing 
discussion may get into. He may fall into doubt as to how 
such big differences of opinion occurred in a Fundamental 
Book like the Quran which, under the Divine Protection, 
has remained preserved in the original form without the 
slightest change in it. 

A thoughtful study of the views that we have 
mentioned in the discussion of "Seven Letters" easily 
provides the answer to this doubt. Anybody who 
concentrates on the basic reality of this difference of 
opinion would easily know that it is entirely theoretical in 
nature, and from the practical standpoint this difference 
has not the slightest effect on the Truth and Reality and 
absolute preservation of Quran. It is agreed by everyone 
without exception that the Quran is being read 
continuously without any break in the same form in which 
it exists today. There has not occurred even an iota of 
change in it. It is also agreed by all the scholars that all 
the recitals that have reached us in a continuous chain of 
narrations are correct and the Quran can be read 
according to any one of them. There is also a consensus 
of the entire Ummah that rare recitals described by some 
do not form part of the Quran. This is also an agreed fact 
that the recitals that were abrogated before or during the 
'Last Revision' do not remain part of the Quran on the 
instruction of the Prophet M himself. This is also an 
undisputed and undoubted fact that the difference in the 
"Seven Letters" of the Quran was only literal in nature. 

t64 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

meaningwise all these letters were the same. Thus, if 
someone has read the Quran only one recital (Letter) he 
would learn the subject of the Quran and he would not be 
in need of another recital to acquire due guidance from 
the Quran. There is also no difference of opinion, not 
even the slightest, that the Transcripts of Sayyidina 
'Uthman 4^s> were prepared with utmost care with full 
endorsement and affirmation of hundreds of Companions 
and the entire Muslim world and the Quran was 
transcribed in them exactly as it was revealed to the Holy 
Prophet $§ and not a single soul objected to it. 194 

Hence, the difference that has been discussed in the 
preceding pages pertained only to the questions, "What 
was meant by 'Seven Letters' in the tiadithl Do the 
continuous recitals prevalent today comprise "Seven 
Letters" or only one Letter?" This is purely a theoretical 
difference. Hence it is wrong to assume, God forbid, 
that the Quran has become a disputed entity on account 
of these differences. This can be understood from the 
following example. 

- Suppose the entire world agrees about a certain book 
that it was written by such and such author. The 
attribution of this book to that author is authentic and he 
himself confirmed that by publishing it that the book 
was written by him and this could be published ever 
afterwards in accordance with that transcription. But 
later on the people differ on the point whether the author 
had made any literal change in the script before its 
publication or published it in its original form. 
Obviously, this theoretical difference does not make the 
transparent reality a point of dispute about which every 

194: Although Sayyidina Abdullah bin Mas'ud -4^> insisted on 
retaining his transcript yet he did not object to the transcript of 
Sayyidina 'Uthman 4^> in the least. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 165 

one is agreed that the book was published by the same 
author at his own responsibility and he has attributed it 
to himself and allowed it to be published with this 
attribution ever afterwards. Likewise, when the entire 
Muslim Ummah is united in the opinion that the Quran 
was transcribed by Sayyidina 'Uthman 4^e> exactly as it 
was revealed and all its continuous recitals are correct 
and revealed as such, then these facts cannot become a 
matter to be disputed due to the theoretical differences 
that have been discussed during the explanation of 
"Seven Letters". 




Another important subject of Sciences of the Quran is 
the discussion on "Abrogator £—u" and Abrogated £j~£«. 
This is a very lengthy and multidimensional discussion. But 
instead of going into all its details only the basic points are 
being presented here. 

Abrogation is translated from the Arabic word Naskh 
£--j which literally means "To erase, to compensate", and 
its technical definition is: 

To repeal a legal order through legal argument. 

That is to say that sometimes Allah enforces a legal 
order relevant to a particular time. Then at a later time, in 
His Infinite Wisdom, He cancels this order and enforces a 
new one in its place. This action is known as "Abrogation 
£~>j" and thus the old cancelled order is known as 
"Abrogated" ^^i» and the newly replaced order as 
"Abrogator" £~-u . 


The Jews think that there can be no Abrogation in the 
Commands of Allah, because if they accept Abrogation it 
would imply that Allah also changes His views (God 
forbid). They state that this would mean that once Allah 

168 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

thought one Commandment as proper but later on (God 
forbid) He realised His mistake and withdrew it which is 
commonly known as t\x> (Buda). 

But the objection raised by the Jews is quite 
superficial and if we ponder a little we can see the 
mistake. "Abrogation" does not mean a change in views, 
but it implies issuing orders according to the needs of 
another time. It is not for the Abrogator to declare the 
Abrogated as wrong but it is to fix the time limit for the 
enforcement of the first order and to tell that the first 
order was just and proper for the time it remained in 
force. But now a new order is being enforced according to 
the changed circumstances. Whoever would think over it 
in a reasonable frame of mind would have no difficulty in 
arriving at the conclusion that this change is exactly in 
keeping with the infinite wisdom of Allah. It cannot be 
questioned in any way. He would not be a doctor in the 
true sense if he uses the same prescription under all the 
circumstances and for every disease. An adept would 
make necessary changes in his prescriptions according to 
the changing condition of the patient. 

This rule applies not only to religious injunctions but 
the entire universe works on this principle. Through His 
expedience Allah makes changes in the weather conditions. 
We get winter, summer, spring, autumn, rainy season or 
drought. All these changes are exactly in conformity with 
the expedient measure of Allah. He must be a witless 
person, indeed, who terms it Buda and contends that and 
argues it amounts to mutation in the Judgement of Allah. 
He says that He once preferred winter then discovered His 
mistake and replaced it with summer. That exactly is the 
case with the abrogation of religious injunctions and 
considering it a fault by calling it Buda would be an 
extreme degree of short sightedness and ignorance of facts. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 169 

"Abrogation" is not a trait specific only to the followers of 
the Holy Prophet >$& but it has remained a regular feature in 
the religious orders of other Prophets f^-Ji^ as well. We 
find several examples in the present day Bible. For example 
it has occurred in the Bible that "In the religious system of 
Sayyidina Ya'qub £SSS a man could have two real sisters as 
his wives at the same time, and he himself had two wives at 
one time, Liyyah and RahTl who were real sisters. 195 But 
this was forbidden in the religious dispensation of Sayyidina 
Musa 8$J. 196 Every moving animal was permissible as food 
in the dispenstion of Sayyidina Nuh &£B 197 but many of 
them were prohibited in that of Sayyidina Musa W. 198 
Also, divorce was permissible freely in the' dispensation of 
Sayyidina Musa 80 but in that of Sayyidina Isa $H divorce 
was allowed only 199 if a woman committed adultery. In 
short there are several such examples in the New and Old 
Testaments of the Bible wherein an existing order had been 
abrogated through a new order. 200 


There has been a difference in the meaning of 
abrogation as understood by the earlier scholars and the 
later scholars. We must look at that first. In the 
phraseology of earlier scholars the word 'Abrogation' had a 
very wide scope of application, and it included many such 
possibilities that were not regarded as Abrogation by the 
later scholars. For example, if the general scope of a verse 

195: Bible, Book of Genesis 29;23to30. 

196: Ahbar 18:18. 

197: Genesis 9:3. 

198: Ahbar 11:7 14:7. 

199: Istithna' 24: 1.2. 

200: Bible Muttal9: 15. 

170 Al * approach to the Quranic sciences 

was limited by another they regarded the first as abrogated. 
Hence if common words are used in one verse and they 
have been specified in a particular manner in another verse, 
the earlier scholars used to term the former as 'Abrogated' 
and the latter as "Abrogator". This did not mean that the 
first commandment has been totally abolished but that the 
generalisation created by the first verse has been removed 
by the second verse, for example, the Quran says. 


And marry not the mushrikat until they believe. 

(Al-Baqarah. 2:221) 

Here the phrase mushrikat polytheist women is general 
which apparently means that marriage is disallowed with all 
kinds of polytheist women be they idolatress or of the 
people of Book. But in another verse it says. 

and (lawful to you is to marry) the chaste from among 
those who were given the Book... (Ai-Ma-idah, 5:5) 
This indicates that in the first verse "polytheist 
women" meant those polytheists that were not from the 
people of the Book. Thus the second verse has limited the 
universal character of the first verse, and it tells us that 
this phrase refers to the particular type of polytheist 
women. The earlier scholars regard this also an 
abrogation and the first verse as abrogated and the second 
as abrogator. 

Contrary to this, the scope of Abrogation with the later 
scholars is not so wide. They consider only such state as 
"Abrogated" in which the previous order is totally 
abolished. They do not consider limitation of a universal 
command as abrogation. Thus, in the above example there 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 171 

has been no abrogation according to later scholars, because 
the real order of prohibition of marrying a polytheist 
woman exists as such. The second verse has clarified only 
that the meaning of the first verse were not so generalised 
as to include the women of the people of Book, but was 
limited and specific to women other than women of the 
people of Book. 

Because of this difference in the scope of application the 
number of abrogated verses, according to earlier scholars, 
was very large, and they used to term one verse as 
abrogated and the other as abrogator due to minor 
differences in them. But according to later scholars the 
number of aborgated verses is very limited. 201 



Abrogation of religious injunctions is not new but was 
also done in earlier times of the previous Ummahs* and this 
fact is undisputed by all. 

Several such orders have been abrogated for the people 
of Muhammad ^ too. For example, the injunction was to 
face towards Baytal Maqdis during Salah* but later on this 
was abrogated and Muslims were ordained to face towards 
Ka'bah. There is no dispute about it among the 
Muslims. 202 

But there is a difference of opinion about whether there 
had been any abrogation in the Quran. In other words, it is 
disputed if there is yet any verse in the Quran that is 
recited although its command is abrogated. The majority of 
traditionalists believe that the Quran does contain such 
verses whose injunctions are abrogated. But of the 

201: Al-Itqan v2, p22. 

202: TafsTr Qasmi vl, p32. Jamaluddin al-Qasim. fc Eisa al-babi 
al-yalbs Egypt 1376 AH. 

172 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

M'utazilah, Abu Muslim Isfahani maintains that no verse of 
the Qur&n has been abrogated but all the verses of the 
Quran continue to be obligatory. 

Some other scholars have also expressed the same 
opinion, A number of modernists of our time also hold the 
same view. Hence, the verses in which abrogation is 
obvious, they explain them in a manner that abrogation may 
not have to be accepted. But, the fact is that this viewpoint 
is very weak and to adopt it one would have to draw far 
fetched meanings while explaining the relative verses. 
These would not conform to the principles of exegesis. 

In fact, those who do not believe in abrogation in the 
Quran suppose that abrogation is a defect of which the 
Quran should be free. But as already stated, it is an 
extremely short sighted view to consider abrogation as 
wrong. It is surprising that, unlike the Jews and Christians, 
Abu Muslim Isfahani and his followers do not deny that 
there had been abrogation in many of the Commandments 
of Allah, but only say that there is no abrogation in the 
Quran. Now^ if abrogation is a vice, why did it occur in 
the non-Quranic injunctions as they are also from Allah? 
And if something was not a vice for non-Quranic 
injunctions how could it be so for Quranic injunctions. It is 
argued that it appears against the Divine Expediency that a 
verse of the Quran should remain only as a sacred relic for 
recital yet not to be practised. 203 

We fail to understand on what grounds this has been 
considered against the Divine Expediency, while there 
could be several expedient reasons in retaining the verses 
whose commands are abrogated. For example, we come to 
know of the prudence behind gradual imposition of 
religious doctrines, and also of the prudential manner 

203: Quran-e-Muhkam, by Mawlana 'Abdus Samad RahmahT. pi 20 
Majils Ma'ariful Quran . Deobaiid 1386 AH. 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 173 

nl"[>ted to bind human beings to follow His doctrine. 
I urther, it also serves as history of these doctrines and their 
iuckgrounds. Allah has Himself revealed in the Quran at 
several places the doctrines and Commandments of the 
previous nations that were abrogated for the people of 
Muljammad i^jg. For example, 

i^G^ b/j y^ \f? 1)f ^?~ s °3^ iy* 1 J^-3 

.-- A A o A ». o I** *"' i ** ill .^ A ^ o A A o ° I-* * •*•»-• 

And those who became Jews, We forbade them every 
animal with claws, and of oxen and sheep we forbade 
them the fat thereof except such as their backs carry or 
the entrails or what is mixed with the bones. 

(Al-AiTam: 6:146) 

Obviously Allah has described an abrogated order an 
admonishment for the Muslims. Thus, if some abrogated 
Quranic verses are retained for this purpose what is there in 
it against the Divine Expediency? Moreover, can anyone 
claim that he knows the wisdom behind all actions of Allah, 
or that he understands the expediency behind every Quranic 
verse and its revelation? If such a claim is not true, and it 
certainly is not true, how can one deny an order of Allah 
simply because one does not know the expediency behind it 
while its enforcement has been justified on religious 

Thus the fact is that those who do not believe in 
abrogation in the Quran have based their opinion on a 
misconceived idea. They have given far-fatched meanings to 
some Quranic verses because they think that abrogation is a 
fault and they want to see and Quran is free of it. If it 
becomes clear to them that it is not a fault but conforms to 

174 Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 

the Will of Allah, they would also give the same meanings 
to such verses as are obvious and commonly adopted. I 

The Quran says: 

pjt i^k. jj i^ ^ ^u r^j y £j ^ ^ ^ 

Whichever revelation We abrogate or cause to be 

forgotten, We bring one better than it or similar to it. 

Know you not that Allah has power over everything? 

(Al-Baqarah. 2:106) 

Whoever studies this verse with an unbiased mind shall 
deduce that abrogation had continued according to clear 
injunctions of the Quran itself. But Abu Muslim Isfahani 
and his associates who willingly or unwillingly consider 
abrogation a fault, interpret this verse in a far-fetched 
manner. They say that this verse deals only with a 
hypothetical situation. They argue that it implies, "If we 
were to abrogate a verse, we would reveal a like or a better 
verse" and it does not follow that any verse would actually 
be abrogated. In proof of this they present another verse 

.5 i -i' 

If the Compassionate had a son, I would be the first of 
worshippers. (Az-Zukhruf. 43:81) 

Those who reject possibility of abrogation say that just 
as this verse speaks of a hypothetical situation which does 
not mean that Allah really has a son, so too the former 
verse (of Surah Al-Baqarah) raises a hypothetical situation 
not necessitating abrogation of a verse. 204 

But this interpretation is not correct because if there 
were to be no abrogation Alla h would not have mentioned 

204: Quri"n Muhkam, Mawlana Abdus Samad RahmanT p21. Majlis 
Ma'ariful Quran, Deoband. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 175 

1 1 even as a hypothetical possibility. The Quran does not 
place a command over anything that may never happen. As 
lor this verse about a son, there is a world of a difference 
between it and the verse of abrogation. 

Hence any reader of this verse would know that this is 
merely a hypothetical proposition, which means that if at 
all Allah would bear a son I would have worshipped him 
before anybody else but since this is an impossible thing 
to happen, the question of worshipping anybody other than 
Allah does not arise. Contrary to this the occurrence of 
"Abrogation" is not logically impossible even according 
to Abu" Muslim Isfahani himself, hence calling it a 
hypothetical situation is a meaningless proposition. 

This becomes all the more apparent from looking at the 
background of revelation of the verse of abrogation. Some 
unbelievers had commented that the Prophet ^ first orders 
his followers to follow one thing and later on instructs them 
against it and introduces a new order in place of it. This 
verse was revealed in answer to their comments. It is clear 
now that the revelation of this verse describes the purpose 
of abrogation rather than negate its occurrence. 205 

As already mentioned, the scope of Abrogation was 
very wide in its interpretation by earlier scholars, and hence 
they have mentioned a large number of abrogated verses. 
But' 'All amah Jalaluddin SuyutT has written that there are 
only nineteen abrogated verses in the whole of Quran 
according to the definition of the later day scholars. 206 

Then, the latest of the scholars Shah Wali-Ullah, made 
a detailed analysis of all the nineteen verses and accepted 
only five of them to be the abrogated ones. As for the rest 

205: Rub. ul-Ma'anT, by 'Allamah AlusT vl . p351. 
206: Al-Itqah by Allamah SuyutT v2, p22. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

of them, he has preferred the commentaries according to 
which these verses need not be considered as Abrogated. 
The arguments given by Sha~h Waliullah about many of 
these verses are most appropriate and acceptable but some 
of them may be disputed. However, the five verses that he 
considers to be abrogated are as follows: 

i ,. „ 


o ci&& J* & >>j^ oi>ftj J'aJiyj 

It is prescribed for you, when death approaches anyone 
of you and if he leaves behind some wealth, to make a 
bequest to parents and near kindreds in an equitable 
way, it is an obligation on the God fearing. 

(Al-Baqarah, 2:180) 

This verse was revealed when Laws of Inheritance were 
not revealed and according to it every person was bound to 
make will before he died about the distribution of his assets 
among his parents and other relatives. Thereafter the 
revelation of the verse of Inheritance: 

' e °^m°j:^^^ 

Allah enjoins you concerning your children 

(AI-Baqarah, 2:11) 

abrogated this verse, and Allah Himself fixed a, schedule 

of the distribution of inherited assets, and it is no more 
obligatory on anyone, to make a will before his death. 
In Surah Al-Anfal it is stated... 

• ^ bo & r^iL; agjc, v/fc ^ j& bi 

u ry ^ \jjf ^oi, j£ mi f^j ^ ^ 

t» approach to the Quranic sciences 177 

It there be of you twenty persevering they shall 
overcome two hundred; and if there be of you a 
hundred, they will overcome a thousand of those who 
disbelieve, because they are a people who do not 
understand. (Al-Anfal, 8:65) 

This verse although it is a piece of information but 
essentially it is a command that it is not allowed to Muslims 
to show their backs while in combat with an enemy ten 
times their number. This was later on abrogated through the 
following verse: 

fj^Uj tj»jf jJ*2» 'J>Z blj ^d>\-* Ijjjjij l'yS^> 45U °p&» 

^— -• — - 

(O believers) Now Allah has lightened it for you, for He 
knew that there is weakness in you. So if there be of you 
a hundred persevering they will overcome two hundred, 
and if there be of you a thousand, they will overcome 
two thousand by Allah's leave. And Allah is with the 
persevering. (Ai-Anfal, 8:66) 

This verse has lightened the burden imposed by the first 
command and the limit of tenfold enemies hp been reduced 
to twofold. Thus a retreat up to double the strength of 
enemy is not permissible now. 

The third verse considered abrogated by Shah Waliullah 
is the following verse of Surah Al-Afrzab: 

• 3 o 'j£J- dX^\ Vj 

(Besides these), it is not lawful for you to take (more) 

178 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

wives after this nor that you should exchange them for 
other wives even though their beauty may please 
you (Al-Ahzab, 33:52) 

According to this verse it was not lawful for the 
Prophet *H to marry any more women. 

Later, this was abrogated through a verse that occurs 
before it in the present sequence of Quranic surahs and 
verses. It is: 

O Prophet! We have made lawful for you your wives 

whom you have given their dower (Al-Ahzab, 33:50) 

Shah Waliullah and others say that the earlier restriction 
was abrogated through this verse, but in fact abrogation in 
this verse is not definite. Its explanation as given by Hafiz 
Ibn JarTr is to a great extent straightforward and simple. He 
has said that the two verses were revealed in their present 
order; in verse fifteen O Prophet, we.... Allah has named 
some particular categories of women as being lawful for the 
Prophet <$| and then in verse 51, (Besides these), it is not, 

lawful it has been specified that women, belonging to 

catgories other than these were not lawful for him. 207 

4: The fourth verse that is abrogated according to Shah 

Walliullah is: 

c_$-b < j t > )y>Jm& dj^y) pS^y-ls oj Ij^oi ^JJl L^Jiu 

_. ** •*'* »* °« *-** ** i * ** ' •* 

jli tjA>«J °J t)li j-%^3 fH^J J^- CiJJi -lilu^ LS"l^>o 

207: TafsTr Ibn jarTr. 

ill approach to the Quranic sciences 179 

O you who believe, when you counsel in private with the 
Messenger give alms before your counseling. That is 
better for you and purer. But if you cannot find (the 
means), then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 

(Al-Mujadilah. 58:12) 

This verse was abrogated by the next verse: 

s } -* fe S S* 


Do you fear to give alms before your counseling? So 
when you did it not, and Allah has relented towards you, 
then establish the §alah and pay the Zakah and obey 
Allah and His Messenger (Al-Mujadilah. 58:13) 

In this way the Command to give alms before 
counseling stands abrogated. 

5: The fifth verse is the following verse of Surah 

O you (Muhammad) enfolded in your robes, keep vigil 

by night, except a little, half of it, or diminish a little. 

(Al-Muzzammil, 73:1-3) 

This verse had ordained for worship for at least half of 
the night, but later on this was abrogated by a flexibility 
provided in the verses that follow it. 

A . S " * >M s 

180 All approach to the Quranic sciences 

And He knows that (all of) you cannot fescp it up (like 
that), so He has relented towards you; so recite so much 
of the Quran as may be easy (for you). 

(Al-Muzzammil, 73:20) 

Shah Waliullah has stated that although Tahajjud (late 
night Salah) was not obligatory even before, but there was 
a greater emphasis on it and its duration was also longer, 
yet later both, the emphasis on it and the binding about 
timing, were relaxed. 

These are the five verses in which abrogation had | 
occurred. But it must be understood that these five 
examples are only those wherein the abrogator and 
abrogated verses can both be found in the Quran. There 
are many such examples where abrogator verses are not, 
such as those related to change of Qiblah etc. 


The above discussion was aimed at clarifying that, 
God forbid, "Abrogation" in the Quranic verses is not J 
a defect for which efforts should be made to show 
Quran free from it. Rather it is exactly in keeping with 
the Divine Scheme of things. Hence the meanings of 
any verse should not be rejected simply because that 
affirms "Abrogation" in the Quran. Nothing stands in 
the way of adopting the meanings or explanations of a 
verse if they conform to principles of 'Exegesis' even 
if that would mean classifying the verse as abrogated. 



After having dealt with the history of revelation of 
the Quran and gone through its relevant discussions, we 
now present the history of preservation of the Quran. 
We will see how the Quran was preserved at the time of 
the Prophet it and the times that followed, how it was 
written, and through how many stages these attempts 
passed. Also, we will discuss and answer the doubts 
being created by non-Muslim and atheists. 


Since the Quran was not revealed all at one time but 
its various verses were revealed in piecemeal according to 
the needs and circumstances of the time it was not 
possible to preserve it as a written Book during the 
lifetime of the Prophet M- Also, Allah had granted a 
distinction to the Quran against other Divine Scriptures. 
Its preservation was done more through memory than pen 
and paper. According to SahTh Muslim, Allah assured the 
Prophet ^|: 

I am going to reveal to you a Book which water cannot 


Meaning thereby that other books in the world will perish 

182 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

due to worldly calamities, as happened in the case of Torah, 
Injeel and other Divine Scriptures but the Quran will be so 
preserved in the hearts (memory) of men that there will be no 
danger of its getting perished. 208 Hence, greater emphasis 
was placed on memory for the preservation of the Quran in 
the early days of Islam. In the beginning, when revelations 
came to the Prophet gjg he used to repeat its words at the 
same time so as to memorise them well. On this, the 
following verse was revealed: 

* , Jo -'• • ' o *- . a 

f>j *^r lOi- olOfj J^JJ VUCJ fi if>o- U 

(O Prophet) Move not your tongue therewith to make 
haste with it (the learning of the Quran), Surely upon Us 
rests the collecting thereof, and the reciting thereof. 

(Al-Qiyamah. 75:16-17) 

This verse assured the Prophet M that he need not 

repeat the words hurriedly right at the moment of ] 

revelation itself because Allah Himself would confer I 

upon him a memory that he would not forget a I 

revelation after having heard it once. And that is how it 

happened. The verses were committed to the Prophet's 

memory as soon as they were revealed. Thus the 

Prophet's heart itself was the safest repository of the 

Quran wherein there was not the slightest chance of any 

mistake or alteration. Moreover, as an additional 

precaution he used to repeat the Quran before Jibril & 

in the month of Ramadan every year, and on the year of 

his death he did it twice. 209 

Further, he did not teach the Companions only the 
meanings of the Quran but had them memorise its words 
as well. The Companions were themselves so keen to 
learn and memorise the Qu ran that everyone of them 

208: An-Nashr fit Qir', "Ashr: Ibn ul JazarT vl, P 6. 
209: Sahih Bukhari with Fat-hul Bari v9, p36. 

ill approach to the Quranic sciences ' 83 

wanted to excel the other. There were women who 
.irmanded nothing else as malir (dower) from their 
husbands except that they should teach them the Quran. 
Hundreds of Companions, ridding themselves of all 
worldly cares, had devoted their entire lives for this 
purpose. Not only did they memorise it but also revised 
it in their nightly Salah. Sayyidina 'Ubadah bin Samit 
<$e> has stated that whenever some one migrated from 
Makkah to Madinah, the Holy Prophet $g entrusted him 
to the care of one of the Ansars so that he could teach 
the Quran to the newcomer. So much noise was created 
in Masjid NabawT by the voices of the learners and 
teachers of the Quran that the Prophet M had to tell 
them to lower their voices so that there was no 

confusion. 210 

Arabs were distinguished all over the world for their 
amazing power of memory, and after groping for centuries 
in the darkness of ignorance they had received the guidance 
of the Holy Quran which they considered to be the most 
cherished possession of their lives. Anybody with an 
understanding of their character and bent of mind can very 
well visualise what pains they must have taken to commit it 
to their memory. Hence, within a fairly short time, there 
were on hand a large group of the pious Companions who 
had the entire Quran committed flawlessly to their memory. 
Traditions denote that this group had included Sayyidina 
Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, Ali. Talhah,_Sa'ad, 'Abdullah 
bin Mas'TTd, Huzayfah bin Yaman/ Silim Maula Abi 
Huzayfah, Abu Hur'ayrah, "Abdullah bin 'Umar' 'Abdullah 
bin 'Abbas, Amr bin 'Aas, Mu'awiyah, 'Abdullah bin 
Zubayr, 'Abdullah bin Sa'ib, Sayyidah 'Aishah, Sayyidah 
Hafsa, Sayyidah Umm Salamah, Sayyidah Umiri Warqah, 

210: Manahil-ul-'Irfan vl, p 4 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Ubayy bin Ka'b, Mu'az bin Jabal, Abu Halimah Mu'az 
Zayd bin Thabit, Abu Darda, Mujamma' bin Jaxiyah, 
Muslimah bin Mukhallad, Anas bin Malik, Aqabah bin 
'Amir, TamTm DaramT, Abu Musa Ash 'arl and Abu Zayd 

These are the names of only some of those Companions 
whose names have been preserved as "Hafiz of Quran" 
(one who has committed the Quran to memory) in various 
traditions, Otherwise, there must be numerous others who 
had memorised the whole Quran but their names could not 
be preserved in the traditions in that capacity. This is 
corroborated by the fact that there had been times when the 
Holy Prophet ^ had sent up to seventy recitors for 
teaching the Quran only to one tribe. There are traditions 
mentioning the martyrdom of seventy recitors from among 
his Companions in the battle of Bt'y'r Ma'unah, and an 
equal number of Hafiz Companions was martyred in the 
battle of Yamamah after the death of the Prophet M 212 
Actually, another account places the number of martyred 
Companions at Yamamah at 700 Recitors. 213 

These facts relate only to the Companions who knew 
the entire Quran by heart whereas the number of those who 
had memorised different portions of the Quran is 



In short, the preservation of the Quran in the early days 
of Islam was based on committing it to the memory. This 
was the safest and most reliable method in view of the 
circumstances of that time because the number of literate 
persons in those days was very small, and printing press 

211: An-Nashr fil_Qira v at vl 'Ashr. vl p6. Al-Itqan. vl, pp73-74 

TarTkh ul Quran Karwi p60. 
212: Al-Itqan vl, P 73. 

213: 'Umdat-ul-QarT vl. 20, pp. 16, 17. Damascus. 
214: Al-Burhan fi 'Ulum-al-Quran by Zarkash! vl, pp241 , 243. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 185 

and other means of publication were unknown. Hence, if 
reliance was placed on pen and paper, neither a wide 
publicity was possible nor a reliable preservation would 
have been practical. Instead, Allah had endowed the people 
of Arabia with such a prodigious memory that many among 
them had thousands of couplets at their finger tips. The 
common run of men would remember by heart not only 
their own genealogies and those of their families but even 
those of their horses. Therefore, this power of memory was 
well utilised for the preservation of the Holy Quran, and it 
was through this means that the verse and chapters of the 
Quran reached every nook and corner of Arabia. 

How rapidly the knowledge of Quran spread in this way 
can be judged from the incident of 'Amr ibn Salamah, a 
seven year old child living on the bank of a natural spring 
where the travellers used to rest for a while. He had not yet 
accepted Islam but simply by listening from the passers-by 
he had memorised a good deal of the Quran before entering 
the fold of Islam. 215 k% 



Although the preservation of the Quran had rested 
mainly upon the memory of the Companions, the Holy 
Prophet «$g had made special arrangements to have it 
written as well. The method used for this purpose has 
been described by Sayyidina Zayd bin Thabit 4^> in a 
tradition as under: 

131 olT_j ^L-j «ub> Aji\ JU*«0)l ^j^J iJ >-J\ <-^\ o~^ 

215: Sahil? Bukhari. 

I 86 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

p5 oU^Jl Ji* \lj* j iJuJj^ t Ury tfJUM ^yi aJlp J^> 

ut>]i ji ^ ^Xj ^j ii^j j&. gj\ ui *L jlJ y»j 

^"iJ* c~-0 ^j >*» J 1 * 1 -^ ^ ~^^ } *J OlaJi o^i-V *JUj a .k-yyi ^ '^il^Uft oljj] 

I used to write down the revelations (Wahy) for the 
Prophet $$£. When the revelation came to him he felt 
intense heat and drops of perspiration used to roll down 
on his body like pearls. When this state was over 1 used 
to fetch a shoulder bone or a piece of something else. 
He used to go on dictating and I used to write it down. 

When I finished writing the sheer weight of transcription 
gave me the feeling that my leg would break and I 
would not be able to walk any more. Anyhow, when I 
had finished writing. He would say, "Read", and I 
would read it back to him. If there was an omission or 
error he used to correct it and then let it be brought 
before the people. 216 

The transcription of revelations was not assigned to 
Zayd bin Thabit alone but other Companions were 
appointed for this purpose who used to do the task as and 
when required. The number of these writers has been 
counted up to forty 217(a) , but more wellknown among them 
are the following; 

216: TabaranT: AI-Awsat_(Majma'az-zawaid, Nuruddin Al-HaythmT 

VI. pl52, Darul.JCitab il 'Arabi, Bairut, 1967. 
217(a): 'ulumul Quran, Sabbi Salih. (Urdu translation by Ghulam 

Ahmad Hurayri p 101. Malik Brother. Lyalpur 1968) 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 187 

Sayyidina Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, AH, Ubayy bin 
Ka'ab, Abdullah bin Abi Sarh, Zubayr bin 'Awwam, 
Khalid bin Sa'Td bin Al-'Aas, Aban bin Sa'Td bin Al-'Aas, 
Aban ibn Sa'id ibn al-Aas, Hanzalah Ibn ur Rab'i. Mu'qib 
bin Abi Fatimah, Abdullah bin Arqam Az-Zuhri, 
Shurahbeel bin Hasnah, Abdullah bin Rawahah, 217(b) 'Amir 
bin Fuhayrah, 'Amr bin Al 'Aits, Thabit bin Qais bin 
Shammas, MughTra bin Sha'abah, Khalid bin WalTd, 
Mu'awiyah bin Abi Sufyan. Zayd bin Thabit. 218 

Sayyidina 'Uthman *&> has stated that it was the 
practice of the Prophet ^g apart from dictating a Wafyy he 
also instructed the scribe to write it after such and such 
verses in such and such Surah. Hence it was being written 
accordingly. 219 

As paper was a scarce commodity in Arabia, the 
Quranic revelations were written mostly on tablets of 
stone, parchments of leather, branches of date^trees, 
pieces of bamboos, leaves of trees and animal bones. But 
at times pieces of paper were also used. 220 

Thus, in the days of the Prophet 'M one copy of the 
Quran consisted of that which he had got written under 
his personal supervision, though it was not in a book form 
but in the shape of different parchments, Alongwith this, 
some Companions also used to write down the Quranic 
verses for their personal record. This was being practised 
from the very beginning of Islam, as is evidenced by the 
fact that Sayyidah Fatimah bint al-Khattab \^s- Ju; &\ ^j 
the sister of Sayyidina 'Umar 4fe and her husband Sa'Td 
bin Zayd ^k> had accepted Islam before Sayyidina 'Umar 

217(b): up to here from Fathul Bari v9, pi 8. 

218: Zadul Ma'aci^, lbnil Qayyim vl, p30, Maminniya Press Egypt. 

219: Fathul Bari v9, pl8, with ref: Musnad Ahmad. TirmizT. Nisai. 

Abu Dawood. Ibn Hibbaru Hakim. 
220: Ibid.v9, pll/Umdatul Qari v2(), PI7 AL Mumiria Press 



An approach to the Quranic sciences 

*$&>, and on hearing that when he entered their house in a 
rage he found a parchment on which the verses of Surah 
Tafia were written and Sayyidina Khabbab Bin Aratt ^k> 
was teaching them. 221 

In addition to this, there are several traditions which 
indicate that the Companions had with them individually 
written copies of complete or incomplete Quran. For 
example, Bukhari has quoted Ibn 'Umar as saying: 

The Prophet 3Ji has disallowed the carrying along of the 
Quran in enemy land. 

(Bukhari. Book of Jihad v. 1 . Pp419.420.) 

Also, there occurs a tradition in Mu'ajjam Tabrani that 
the Prophet jUg said: 

cJ>J>twa>Ji ^ 4jI^3 j *J>rj3 


^r_;J> ^jiJl dUi ^^ i_APLia; 

^j^y-o* -***-* ^ Ia *» 3^1^^^'^^ ^\i)^ >Jst A£.^ t \ .ano^ioji^i^)) 

If anyone recites the Quran without seeing the 
transcription the reward is one thousand times, and if lie 
reads it from the transcription the reward is two 
thousand times. 222 

The above two traditions clearly indicate that the 
Comapanions did possess written copies of the Quran 

221: Sunan Dar QutnT vl. pi 23. printed at MadTnah. Bab-i-Nahy/ 
Muhaddith 'An MassitQuran, wa Majma'-uz-zawaid HaythmT v9, 
p61 printed Bairut. Manaqib "Umar wa STrah Ibn Hisham, Zad 
ul Ma'ad vl, pl86-187. Flafiz ZayPT Confinis it authentic. 

222: Al-Zawaid v7, pi 65 primed at Bairut. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 189 

during the lifetime of the Prophet $$. If it were not so r the 
question of reading from the transcription or carrying it to 
enemy land does not arise. (Bukhari, Book of Jihad, v 1) 




The copies of Quran prepared during the time of the 
Holy Prophet 3|g were written on different kinds of 
materials. Some verses were written on leather, some on 
leaves of trees, some on bones etc. Copies of the whole 
Quran were very few. Some Companions had with them 
only one Surah, some had five or ten and some had only a 
few verses. Some of them had verses with explanatory 
notes also written with them. 

It was for this reason that Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4&> 
thought it necessary during his period of caliphate that all 
the scattered portions of the Holy Quran should be 
collected and preserved. What motivated him to take this 
step has been described by Zayd bin Thabit, "Immediately 
after the battle of Yamamah, Sayyidina Abu Bakr <^& one 
day sent for me, and when I went to him, Sayyidina Umar 
4^> was afso present there ; Abu Bakr 4$& said to me, Umar 
has just now told me that a large number of Huffaz (those 
who had learnt the Quran by heart) have been martyred in 
the battle of Yamamah. If we go on losing them in different 
places like that, I fear that a large portion of the Quran may 
become extinct, hence I propose that you undertake the task 
of collection of the Quran from different places. I told 
Umar, How can I do a thing which the Prophet ^ himself 
did not do? Umar said, and he kept on repeating, 'By God! 
This work is all good and nothing but good, until the light 
of its. truth dawned on me too, and now my opinion is the 

192 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

same as Umarj-. After that Sayyidina Abu Bakr <$&> said to 
me, you are young and sensible. We have no lack of trust 
in you. You had also been a regular scribe of the Wahy 
during the time of the Holy Prophet jjjg So, you search for 
all the verses of the Quran and collect them together." 

Zay'd bin Thabit says "By God! Carrying a mountain 
on their orders would have been a lighter burden for me 
than was collecting the Quran. I asked him, 'How is it that 
you have undertaken the task that was not done by the Holy 
Prophet gJS himself?" Sayyidina Abu Bakr *&> said: 

'By God! this is all good', and he kept on repeating 
these words till Allah gave me insight for adopting the 
same opinion that was held by Abu Bakr, and Umar 
u+Lfr 4ili ^j. Consequently, I started searching for the 
verses of the Quran and it was from the branches of 
date-palms, slabs of stones and memory of people that 
I finally collected the Holy Quran." 223 

At this point, while we are dealing with the process of 
collection of the Quran, we should have a clear perception 
of the method used by Sayyidina Zayd bin Thabit 4&k. He 
himself was a J^Iafiz of the Quran and, therefore, he could 
have written down the whole Quran from his memory. In 
addition to that, there were hundreds of Companions 
present at that time who had memorised the whole of Quran 
who could still have been written down by entrusting this 
duty to a group of them. Also, the copies of the Quran that 
had been written down during the time of the Holy Prophet 
^t could have been used by Sayyidina Zayd 4&h to make his 
copy of the Quran. But as a precaution he did not limit 
himself to any of these methods. He used all these methods 
simultaneously, but even then he did not include any verse 
in his transcription unless he had received written and oral 

223. Sahih Bukhari and Fath ul Bari, v9, p8-l 1. 

Am approach to the Quranic sciences 193 

testimonies proving its uninterrupted succession. In 
addition, the verses that the Prophet $i had got written 
under his personal supervision, were still preserved by 
different Companions. Sayyidina Zayd ^k> collected them 
together so that the new copy be made from them. 
Consequently, a public proclamation was made that anyone 
possessing any written verses of the Holy Quran should 
bring them over to Sayyidina Zayd 224 and when anyone 
brought a written verse to him he used to verify its 
authenticity by the following four methods. 

1. To begin with, he verified it from his own memory. 

2. When someone came forward with a verse, he and 
Sayyidina 'Umar <^b used to receive it jointly, because, 
as narratives confirm., the latter was also deputed by 
Abu Bakr to work with Sayyidina Zayd, and he was 
also a Hafiz. 225 Hence he too, used to verify it from 
his memory. 

3. No written verse was accepted until two reliable 
witnesses had testified that it was written in the 
presence of the Holy Prophet ^g 'Allamah SuyTTti has 
stated that apparently the witnesses also testified that 
those written verses were presented before the 
Prophet $$g in the year of his death and he had 
affirmed that they were in accordance with the "Seven 
Letters" on which the Quran was revealed. 226 This 
statement of 'Allamah Suyuti has been supported by 
several traditions. 

4. After that, these written verses were collated with the 
collections that different Companions had prepared for 
themselves. 227 According to Imam Abu Shamah the 

224: Fath ul Ban v9, pi 1 ref, Ibn Abu Dawood in the Kitab ul Masahif. 

225: Ibid. 

226: Al-Itqanvl, p60. 

227: Al-Burhan-fi-'ulu mil Quran vl, p238. 

194 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

purpose of this method was that utmost care be taken 

in the transcription of the Quran, and rather than rely 

on memory, it should be transcribed exactly from the 

verses that were written in the presence of the Holy 

Prophet MP* ^* 

If this functional methodology behind the collection of 

the Quran during the period of Sayyidina Abu Bakr <^£> is 

kept in mindjit would become very easy to understand what 

Sayyidina Zayd bin Thabit meant, "I found the last verses 

of Surah Al-Baraah starting with: 

* Q< 

. a c --7° "* \" ' ° *** ^v" ° -1 

7*J> j^W-Aji^ O^j *-5 cb^ajiJ 

certainly, there has come to you a Messenger from 
among yourselves... <9: 128.129) 

with Sayyidina Abu Khuzaymah only. They were not 

found with anyone else except him." This never means 
that no person other than Abu Khuzaymah remembered 
these verses, or nobody else had them in writing, or 
anyone other than him did not know of their being part 
of the Quran. But it means that with the exception of 
Abu Khuzayamah these verses were not found with 
anyone of those who were coming with different written 
verses as they were dictated by the Holy Prophet ^. 
Otherwise, as far as the fact of these verses being part 
of the Quran is concerned, it was known to every one 
through uninterrupted succession. There were hundreds 
of Companions who knew the whole Quran by heart 
and, hence, they also knew these verses. Further, these 
were also present in written form on the complete 
collections of the Quranic verses preserved by various 
Companions. Because he had taken the foregoing 
precautions he waited for confirmation through the third 

228: Al-Itqan vl. p20 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 195 

method. As for the other verses they were verified in all 
the methods set by Sayyidina Zayd *& and were found 
written with many Companions, many of whom brought 
each verse. But, among those written separately under 
the supervision of the Prophet M these verses were 
found only with Sayyidina Abu Khuzaymah ^ and not 
with anyone else. 229 

So, in every way possible, it was with utmost care that 
Zayd bin Th"abit £&> collected the Quranic verses and 
transcribed them in the proper order on sheets of paper. 230 
However, every Surah was written separately. Hence, this 
consisted of a number of transcripts and in the terminology 
of the Quran it was called "Uinm", and it had the following 


(1) In this copy, the Quranic verses were arranged in 
accordance with the order fixed by the Holy Prophet 
$£$ but the Surahs were not arranged, and every Surah 
was written and kept separately. 231 

(2) All the "Seven Letters" were incorporated in this 

copy. 232 ^ 

(3) This copy was written in Hlr! script. 233 

(4) Only those verses were included whose recital was not 

(5) The purpose of this transcription was to prepare an 
organised document with the collective endorsement of 
the entire Ummah, so that reference can be made to it 
when required. 

229: Al-Burhan fil 'Ulurnil Quran, vl, p234-235. 

230: Al-Itqan, vl, p60. According lo one report this Copy too was 

transcribed on leather but Hafiz Ibn I;Iajar rejects this report. 
231: Al-Itqan vl, p60. 
232: Manahil-ul-'Irfan vl. pp. 246, 247, and TarTkh ul Quran by KarvT 

233: TarTkh-ul-Quran by Abdus Samad Sarim p43. Lahore Press 


*»* An approach to the Quranic sciences 

If the above details regarding the compilation of the 
Quran are kept in mind, it will be easy to comprehend the 
meaning of the tradition which states that Sayyidina l Ali 4&> 
had compiled the Quran immediately after the death of the 
Holy Prophet $£. 

In fact it was not only Sayyidina AH 4&> but many other 
Companions had also compiled their individual copies. But 
a standard copy compiled with the collective endorsement 
of the entire Ummah, was first prepared by Sayyidina Abu 
Bakr 4&- 

The transcripts written on the orders of Sayyidina Abu 
Bakr *$& remained with him during his lifetime. Then they 
remained with Sayyidina 'Umar <$b and on his martyrdom 
they were transferred to the custody of Sayyidah 
Hafsah 234 j n accordance with his instructions. Then 
Marwan bin Hakam asked for them from Sayyidan. 
Hafsah $& but she refused to give them to him. After her 
death Marwan sent for them and had them burnt because a 
consensus had been reached by then that with regard to 
the script and arrangement of Surahs it was obligatory to 
follow^the transcripts of Surahs prepared by Sayyidina 
'Uthman ^h only, and no such copy should exist that was 
at variance with them. 235 

234. Fath-ul-Bari, v9, ppl2,13. 
235: Ibid*, pi 6. 



When Sayyidina 'Uthman *4&> became the Caliph, Islam 
had already spread to the far-flung areas of Byzantine and 
Iran. People embracing Islam in the new areas used to learn 
the Quran from the Muslim soldiers or from the traders 
from whom they got the blessing of Islam. Also, as has 
already been described, the Quran was revealed on "Seven 
Letters" and different Companions had learnt it from the 
Holy Prophet M according to different recitals. Hence, 
every Companion taught the Quran to his disciples in 
accordance with the particular reading he had learnt from 
the Prophet ife. In this manner variations in recital reached 
distant countries. As long as the people were aware that the 
Quran was revealed on "Seven Letters", these variations 
caused no harm. But when these variations reached far-out 
countries and the fact that the Quran was revealed on 
"Seven Letters" could not gain due publicity, disputes 
among people started growing up. Some people insisted that 
their own reading was correct and that of others incorrect. 
These disputes gave rise to the danger on the one hand, that 
the people might fall into the grave error of declaring as 
incorrect the recitals of the Quran that had been transmitted 
through uninterrupted succession. On the other hand, there 
was no standard copy of the Quran anywhere in the world, 
except the one in Madina that was transcribed by Zayd bin 
Thabit 4$b, that could be the rallying authority for the 
entire Ummah. Since other copies were written 

W 8 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

individually, and in them, there was no provision to 
incorporate all the seven versions of recital, the only 
reliable method to resolve these disputes was that 
transcripts incorporating all the valid recitals be 
disseminated throughout the Islamic world, and through 
them it could be decided as to which recital is correct? 
Sayyidina 'Uthman 4& accomplished this remarkable feat 
during the period of his Caliphate. 

We learn the details of this achievement through an 
account that Huzayfah bin Yaman J§b who was engaged in 
Jihad on the Armenian- Azerbaijan front noticed that 
differences were arising among people about the correct 
recital of the Quran. So, on his return to Madinah he 
went straight to Sayyidina 'Uthman 4& and said, "O 
Amir-al-Mu'minin (Leader of the Believers)! Before this 
nation falls a prey to dissensions about the Book of Allah 
like the Jews and Christians you must do something about 
it." Sayyidina 'Uthman ^b asked. "What is the matter"? 
He said, "I was on the Jihad mission at the Armenian 
front where I saw that the recital by the people of Syria 
following that of Ubayy bin Ka'ab was never heard by the 
people of Iraq, while the people of Iraq, who follow the 
recital of 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, have never heard the 
recital made by the people of Syria. As a result they call 
each other unbelievers." 

Sayyidina 'Uthman 4& had himself sensed this danger 
much earlier. He was informed that even in Madinah such 
incidents had occurred wherein someone taught the Quran 
according to one recital while another teacher taught it 
according to a second recital: and when the students of 
different teachers met together there arose differences 
among them and sometimes it embroiled the teachers as 
well, and they too declared each other's reading to be 
incorrect. When Huzayfah bin Yaman <# drew his 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 199 

attention to this danger, Sayyidina "Uthman 4& convened a 
meeting of some esteemed Companions and consulted them. 
He said, "I have been informed that there are people who 
say to each other. 'My recital is better than yours', and this 
may be carried to the limits of blasphemy (unbelief). So. 
what is your opinion in this matter?" The Companions 
asked Sayyidina "Uthman *$i> himself as to what were his 
own thoughts about it. He said, 

"My opinion is that we should unite every one on one 
transcription so that no difference or division may occur.'" 

The Companions approved and supported his veiw. 

Consequently, Sayyidina 'Uthman 4fa gathered people 
together and addressed them. "You are living so close to 
me in Madinah yet you falsify each other and differ with 
each other in respect of the recitals of the Qura"n. It is 
obvious that those who are far away from me must be 
falsifying and disapproving each other more vehemently. 
Therefore, let everyone join together to prepare a copy of 
the Quran to follow which should be obligatory for all." 

For this purpose, Sayyidina "Uthman -^ sent a 
message to Sayyidah Hafsah i^p Ji*j ■&' ^j requesting her 
to let him have the holy transcripts of the QuraViic text 
(prepared during the time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr ^ and 
which she had in her custody). He promised that these 
would be returned to her after they had been copied 
down. She sent them to him. He then formed a group of 
four Companions comprising Sayyidina Zayd bin Thabit, 
'Abdullah ibn Zubayr, Sa'eed ibn al-'Aas and Abdur 
Rahman bin Harith bin Hisham. This group was entrusted 
with the task of making several transcripts from the 
original copy compiled by Sayyidina Abu Bakr *$$>, with 
the Surahs also arranged in sequence. One of these four 
Sayyidina Zayd, was an Ansar while the three were 
Quraysh. Therefore, Sayyidina 'Uthman *^s> said to them. 

200 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

"If you and Zayd differ anywhere in the Quran (that is, 
differ as to how a certain letter should be written) you 
would write it in the language of the Quraysh because the 
Holy Quran has been revealed in their language." 

Basically, this task was entrusted to the above named 
four distinguished persons, but subsequently other 
Companions also were called upon to assist them so that, 
according to Ibn Abi Dawood ^k> their number had risen to 
twelve. These included Ubayy bin Ka'ab, Sayyidina KathTr 
bin Aflah, Sayyidina Malik bin Abi 'A~mir, Sayyidina Anas 
bin Malik and Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Abba's 4&>. This 
group of Companions performed the following functions in 
connection with the transcription of Holy Quran: 236 

1. In the transcript prepared during the period of 
Sayyidina Abu Bakr <^h Surahs were not arranged in a 
sequence, but each of them was written separately. 
They arranged them in their proper sequence as part of 
a single transcript. 

2. The verses of the Quran were written to accommodate 
all the successive un-interrupted recitals in the script. 
Therefore, no dots or diacritical marks were placed on 
them so that they could be read in accordance with all 
the valid recitals. For instance, they wrote Ia^. in 
order that it could be read both as u^Ij (Nanshuruha) 
and Lajr-y, (Nunshizuha) because both these recitals 
were correct. 238 

3. Upto that time there existed only one single copy of the 
Holy Quran that was complete, authentic, standard and 
collectively attested by the entire Ummah. They 
prepared several transcripts of this freshly written copy 
of the Quran. It is generally believed that Sayyidina 



Fatah al Bari v9. pl3-15. 
Mustadrak Hakim, v2, p229. 
Manahil-ul-'Irfan. vl, p253. 254 

[n approach to the Quranic sciences 


'Uthman 4& got five transcripts prepared, but Abu 
Ha"tim Sajistani has stated that a total of seven 
transcripts were prepared. Of those, one was sent to 
Makkah and one each to Syria, Yaman, Bahrain, Basra 
and Kufah, and one was preserved in Madinah. 239 
4. In order to accomplish the task cited above these 
eminent Companions basically kept before them the 
transcripts that were written during the time of 
Sayyidina Abu Bakr rife* But as an added precaution 
they adopted the same method that was employed 
during the time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr <# . 
Consequently, individual transcripts preserved by 
different Companions were once again brought together 
and it was, yet another collation with these, that the 
new transcripts were prepared. This time a verse of 
Surah Al-Ahzab, 

Among the Believers are men (33:23) 

separately written was found only with Sayyidina 
Khuzaymah bin Thabit Ansari. As we have explained 
earlier, it does not mean that nobody else had remembered 
this verse, because Sayyidina Zayd bin Thabit has said.. 

"While writing the transcription I did not find the verse 
of Surah Al-Ahzab which 1 used to hear from the 
Prophet Ofe when we searched for it we found it with 

239: Sahih Bukhari. Fath-ul-Bari v9, pl7. 

202 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Khuzaymah bin Thabil Ansari. 240 

It is quite apparent from the above narration that this 
verse was the one which Zayd and other Companions 
remembered very well. Similarly, it also does not mean that 
this verse was not written anywhere else, because it was 
present in the transcripts written during the time of 
Sayyidina Abu Bakr *$b, and was also included in the 
individual manuscripts preserved by various Companions. 
But as was done in the days of Sayyidina Abu Bakr *&, 
this time also, all those scattered documents, written by the 
Companions individually, were collected together. 
Therefore, Zayd $k> and his associates did not transcribe 
any verse in those copies until they found it in those 
manuscripts as well. As such, other verses were found 
written separately with several Companions, but this verse 
from Surah Al-Ahzah could not be obtained as a separate 
manuscript from anyone except Khuzaymah bin Thabit. 
5. After having several of these standard transcripts of the 
Holy Quran prepared, Sayyidina "Uthman 4& got all 
the other manuscripts individually prepared by 
Companions burnt, so that all transcripts of the Quran 
become uniform in terms of script, incorporation of 
accepted recitals and the sequence of Surah, leaving no 
room for any differences. 

The entire Ummah acknowledged this achievement of 
Sayyidina 'Uthman <4*> with admiration, and all the 
Companions extended their full support in this venture. 
Only Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud was somewhat 
unhappy about it, the reasons of which have been 
mentioned in the discussion on "Seven Letters". Sayyidina 
*Ali bin Abu Talib *£& remarked: 

240: Bukhari, Fath-ul-Bari v9. pi 7 

iii approach to the Quranic sciences 203 

"Say nothing about 'Uthman <$a except what is good for 
him. By God! whatever he did in connection with the 
transcription of the Quran was done in the presence of 
all of us and with our advice and counsel." 

241: Fath-ul-Bari v9. pl5. Rat: Ibn Any Da wood 



After the afore-mentioned achievement of Sayyidina 
'I Unman 4&> the Ummah has reached a consensus that it is 
i m.i permissible to write the text of the Holy Quran in any 
1 1 winner other than the one adopted by him. Consequently, 
(hence on, all the transcripts of the Quran were written in 
accordance with this script and the Companions and their 
successors prepared and circulated more and more copies of 
l lie Quran on this script. 

But the script of these Quranic transcriptions was still 
without dots and diacritical marks that made it difficult for 
the non-Arabs to recite them freely. As Islam spread far 
and wide in non-Arab countries, it was felt that dots and 
diacritical marks must be put so that the people may recite 
it easily. Several steps were taken to achieve this purpose, a 
short history of which is given below. 

I )OTS ^^ 

It was not customary with the early Arabs to put dots 
on letters, and scribes used to write blank letters. The 
readers were so used to this style that they had practically 
no difficulty in reading the dot-less writings and they 
could easily distinguish between doubtful letters by 
reference to the context. Rather, it was very often 
considered to be an insult to put dots. Historian Maua'ini 
has quoted an author as under: 

206 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

_ <U)1 v^J jDwJb -yjh c y+s> -w-*loJl _i J2JLJI a J5 

To put too many dots in a letter amounts to suspicion 
about (the comprehension of) the addressee. 

Hence transcripts of Sayyidina *Uthman <*?& were 
devoid of any dots, and apart from the prevalent custom its 
major purpose was that all the successive uninterrupted 
recitals may be incorporated in that script. But later on, 
dots were placed on letters for the convenience of 
non- Arabs and less educated Muslims. 

Reports differ as to who was the first to place dots on 
the Quranic transcript. Some reports say that this feat was 
first of all accomplished by Abul Aswad Du'lli. 243 Some 
say that he did it on the instructions of Sayyidina Ali 
4^. 237 Still others say that the Governor of Kufah, Ziyad 
bin Abi Sutyah asked him to do this task 244 . There are 
reports too that Abdul Malik bin Marwan asked him to do 
it. 246 There is yet another report that Hajjaj bin Yusuf 245 
got it done with the help of Hasan Al-Basri, Yahya bin 
Ya'mur and Nasr bin '"Asim Laythi 247 . Some scholars think 
that the inventor of these dots had himself placed them in 
the Quranic script, and no conception of dots existed before 
this. But 'All amah Qalqashandi (who was the most 
renowned researcher in the art of script and writings) has 
refuted it and proved that dots had been invented long 
before that. According to one report, the inventors of 
Arabic writing script were Muramar bin Murrah, Aslam 

242: Subh al-'~Asha al Qalqashandi v3, pi 54 AmTriy Press Cairo 1332 

243: Al-burhan fi-Ulum-i-Quran vl, p 250 & Al-Itqan v2, pi 71. 
244: Subh-ul-^Asha v3, pl55. 
245: Al-burhan p25<X 251, 14th Edn. 
246: Al-Itqan v2, pl71. 
247: TafsTr Al-Qurtubi vl. p63. and TarTkh ul-Quran,.Karwi. pl81. 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 2 ^7 

inn Sidrah and 'Amir bin Jadarah of the tribe of Bolan. 
Muramar invented the shapes of the letters, Aslam laid 
down the methods for breaking and combining the words 
.mil letters and 'Amir founded the dots 248 . Yet another 
report says that the credit for the first use of dots goes to 
Abu Sufyan bin Umaiyyah, the grandfather of Abu Sufyan 
l)in tfarb, who had learnt them from the people of 
Ambar 249 . Thus, the dots were invented much earlier but 
the Quranic transcripts were kept free of them for various 
reasons. Whoever placed dots on the Quranic letters was 
not the inventor of dots, but he was the first person to use 
(hem in the Quranic script. 250 


In the beginning, like dots, the Quran was devoid of 
diacritical marks (the fatha, kAsrah and damma) and likewise. 
There are varying reports as to who put these marks first? 
Some say this was first done by Abul Aswad Du'Hi. Some 
say that Hajjaj bin Yusuf got this done by Yahya bin Ya'mur 
and Nasr bin 'Asim al-LaythT 251 . Keeping in view all the 
reports in this connection, it appears that diacritical marks 
were first invented by Abul Aswad Du'Ui but they were 
different from what they are today. Instead, for short vowel 
'a' (fat-ha) he placed a dot over the letter (__,_), for short 
vowel 'i' (Kasrah) a dot under the letter ( . ) for short vowel 
'u' (dhammah) a dot in front of the letter ( — ) and for 

nunnation (TanwTn) two dots („; ., ) 252 . Later on, 

KhalTl bin Ahmad founded the signs of (glottal jtop, 
Hamzah) and doubling (TashdTd) 253 . After that Hajjaj bin 

248: Subh-ul-A'sha v3, p 12. 

249: ibid'v3, pl3. 

250: Ibid v3, pl55. 

251 : TafsTr ul-Qurtubi vl p63. 

252: Subh-ul-A'asha v3, pl60. TarTkh-ul-Quran . KarwT pl80. 

253: Al-Itqan v2, p!71, Subh-ul-A'sha v 3 pl61. 

208 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Yusuf requested Yahya bin Ya'mur, Nasr bin Xsim 
Al-Laythl and Hasan Al-Basri to put both the dots ami 
diacritical marks on the Quranic letters. On this occasion thfl 
present forms of diacritical marks were chosen rather than 
the use of dots so that they may not be confused with the 
intrinsic dots of the letters. Allah knows best. 


It was customary with the Companions and their 
successors that they would complete the recital of the entire 
Quran in one week. For this purpose, they had fixed portions 
for their daily recitation. Each such portion is known as 
'Hizb' or 'Manzil'. In this way the Quran has been divided 
into seven stages of recitation. Sayyidina Aws bin Huzayfah 
states that he asked the Companions as to how many stages 
of recital they had divided the Quran into. They replied the 
first IJizb consists of three surahs the second of five, the 
third of seven, the fourth of nine, the fifth of eleven, the 
sixth of thirteen and the final Hizb from Surah Qaf to the end 
of the Quran. 254 


Today, the Quran is divided into thirty parts 
(AJZA-pIural of JUZ). This division in parts has nothing to 
do with the meaning of the Quran, but has been done as a 
teaching aid for children, in thirty equal parts. Thus, we 
see that there are places where a part ends with an 
unfinished statement. It is difficult to say with certainty as 
to who made this division in thirty parts? Some people 
think that during the transcription of the Quran Sayyidina 
'Uthman 4&> had got it written in thirty parts and hence this 
division dates back to his time 255 . But I could not find any 

254: Al-burhan fi 'Ulumil Quran, vl, p250. 
255: TarTkh-ul-Quran by Abdus Samad Sarim.. 

i" approach to the Quranic sciences 209 

oof of this theory in the works of earlier scholars. 
However, 'Allamah Badruddin Zarkashi has wirtten that the 
thirty parts of the Quran have been in popular use and they 
I ustomarily appear in the Quranic transcripts used in 

hools. It appears that this division was made after the 
period of the Companions to facilitate teching of the Quran. 
Allah knows best. 


Another sign used in the Quranic transcriptions in early 
Centuries was the placing of the sign £ or ^~+*- after every 
live verses, and £ or ^s- after every ten verses, in the 
margin. The former kind of signs were called 'Afdimas' five 
Bnd the latter A'shar 156 . Holding divergent veiws, some of 
I he early scholars, considered these signs permissible while 
others held them to be reprehensible 257 . It is difficult to say 
with any degree of certainty as to who put these signs first? 
One report says that the * Abba's i Caliph Ma'mun first 
ordered that they be marked 258 . But both these reports do not 
appear to be correct since the idea of A'shar appears to be 
present in the days of the Companions as well. Ibn Abi 
Shaybah, narrates in his book (Musannaf) that: 

-=j *• 

^i j~z~*d\ *£ 4Jl 4U1 J^p yfr ijjj — * ^ 

Masruq says that Abdullah bin Mas'ud considered the 
putting of sign of A'shar in Quranic script as detestable 259 . 

From this it appears that the concept of "A'shar" was 
present during the days of the Companions. 

256: Manahil-ul-'Ifran vl, p403. 
257: Al-Itqan v2, pl71. 
258: Al-Burhan vl, p251. 

259: Musannaf Ibn Abi Shyba v2, p497. 'UliTm-ul-Sharqiyah Press 
Deccan 1387 AH. » " 

210 An approach to the Quranic sciences 


. Another sign that came into use later on and is still 
prevalent is the sign of RUKU\ and its placement depends 
on the meanings whereby a sign £ is placed on the 
conclusion of a statement in the margin. Despite all efforts I 
could not locate anything authentic to tell us who originated 
this sign and in what period it was done. Some people think 
that "Ruku'Tit" were also determined during the time of 
Sayyidina 'Uthman 4^ 260 but no authentic proof to this claim 
is traceable in the traditions. However, one thing is certain 
that the purpose of this sign is to determine an average 
portion of the verses which could be recited in one unit 
(Raka'ah) of Salah. It is called Ruku' (bending) so as to 
indicate bowing (going into semi prostration) during Salah at 
this point. It is stated in Fatawa 'XlamgTriyah: 

^-jujlj dU-^^j^ ^J& C)lyil\ I^Jjc?- Alii p^+jt-j ^oLi^Jl d\ 

The Shaykhs have divided the Quran into 540 'Ruku 1 at' 
(sections) and placed its signs on the transcriptions so 
that the Quran may be completed on the 27th night (of 
Ramadan in Salat-tut-Taravih.) 261 


Rumuz ul-awqaf (signs to pause). Another useful step 
taken to facilitate recitation of the Quran was to provide the 
verse with signs to indicate pauses. They are called Rumuz 
ul-Awqaf. Their purpose is to help a person who does not 

260: TarTkh-ul-Quran by Abdus Samad Sarim. p81. 
261: Fatawa 'TdamgTriyah vl, p 94. 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 21 J 

l now Arabic to stop at the appropriate place during his 

recitation, and thus avoid any change in the meaning by 

slopping at the wrong place. Most of these signs were first 

introduced by 'Allamah Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad bin 

J ytur SajawandT. 262 

(These signs are explained below: 

J* (ta). It is an abreviation for al-Ujaqfalmutlaq 9 \t indictes 
that the statement stands completed at this point. 
Therefore it is better to stop here. 

£ (jlm) It is an abbreviation for al-waqfal-jaiz. It means 
that it is permissible to stop here. 

) . Stopping here is correct but it is better not to stop. It is 
the short form for al-waqf al-mujawwaz. 

(§ad) ijp It stands for al-waqf al-murakhkhas . It means that 
the statement continues further but, because the sentence 
became too long, the reader may take a stop to breathe 
at this point rather than elsewhere in the sentences. 263 

(mTm)f.It stands for al-Waqf al-tazitn- This sign denotes 
that there is a chance of grave error in the meaning if a 
stop is not made here, hence it is better to stop here. 
Some people call it "Obligatory stop" but not in the 
juristic sense that non-compliance would be sinful. In 
fact the purpose is to stress that making a stop here is 
the most preferable of all stops. 264 

(lam) V.It is an abbreviation for la ta'cfyif (do not stop here) 
but this does not mean that a stop here is unlawful. 
Rather, it is used at places where there is no harm in 
stopping, and starting with the next word is also 
permissible. So, it actually means that if a stop is made 
here, it is better to go back and read over again 265 

262 An-Nashr fil Qiraat 5 1 'Ashr, Ibn ul JazarT vl , p225 

263. Al-Minh ul-Fikriyah by Mullah Ali Qari, p63. 

264. An-Nashr vl, p231. 
265 An-Nashr, p233. 

212 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

. rather than continuing on the next words. 

As far as the origin of the above signs is concerned, it 

is conclusively proved that they were invented by 'Allamah 

Sajawandi. However, some other signs are also found in the 

transcriptions of the Quran, for example: 

C? This is an abbreviation of «uii*-. This sign is inserted 
where two explanations of a single verse are possible. 
According to one explanation, the stop will be made at 
one given place, while according to another explanation 
this will be made at another place. Thus, a stop can be 
made at either of the two places but not at both places. 
For example: 

-jji oliai- 

If a pause is made at SjjJ' then it is not proper to pause 
again at J^lfi and if a pause will be made at J-*W 
then it is not correct to pause at SjjsJt. However, if a 
stop is not made at both places, that will be correct. It 
is also called al-muqabilah. It was first of all pointed 
out by Imam Abul Fadl Razi. 
fed This indicates Saktah. It means reader should stop here 
but without breaking the breath. It is generally inserted 
at a place where non-stop reading may convey an 
erroneous meaning. 

**9j At this sign, the reader should stop a little longer than 

saktah (i^L.) still not breaking the breath. 
J: It is the abbreviation of alia 'alai Ml waqf ^Ji «uL* JJ 
% meaning thereby that some phonetists plead to stop 

here while other's do not. 
^ii: This is qif. It means 'stop here' and it is inserted where 

the reader may think that a stop here was not correct. 
^L,:It is the abbreviation of Jji J^jli (al wasl ula) It means 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 213 

that a non-stop reading is desirable here. 
J~*: It is the abbreviation of qad yusaL 

Some recitors stop here while others prefer not to. 
These indications are quite well-known but I could not 
ascertain who invented them. 



Before the invention of the printing press, all copies of 
the Quran were hand written by pen, and for this purpose, 
there always has been a large group of calligraphers who 
kept themselves busy in nothing but the calligraphy of the 
Quran. The amount of labour put in by Muslims in writing 
the words of the Quran in better and better styles, and the 
way they demonstrated their deep love for this exalted Book 
has a long and interesting history of its own which would 
need an independent publication. This is not the appropriate 
place to go into such details. 

With the inventions of the printing press, the Holy 
Quran was first printed at Hamburg in 1113 Hijrah, a copy 
Of which is still preserved in Dar-ul-Kutub al Misriyyali in 
Egypt. After that several orientalists got many editions of 
the Quran published but they could not gain popularity in 
the Islamic world. After that Maula'y 'Uthmanwas the first 
Muslim who had one transcription of the Quran printed at 
St. Petersberg, a Russian city, in 1787 C.E. Similarly, 
another transcription was printed in Qazan, and in 1828 
C.E. the Quran was printed by lithography on stone slabs 
in the Iranian city of Tehran. Thereafter, printed copies of 
the Quran became common throughout the world. 266 

266. For a detailed history of priming B-t tike Quran see 
"TarTkh-ul-Qurah" al Kurdu p 1 86 and 'ulum ul Quran by 
Dr.SubhT Saieh. Urdu translation by Ghulain Ahmad Hariri 

216 Aii approach to the Quranic sciencti 


It has been mentioned in the discussion of "Seven 
Letters" that, in order to facilitate recitation, Allah, the 
Exalted, revealed the Quran in several versions of 
recitation. With this difference in recitation no change 
occurs in the overall meanings of the verses, but modes of. 
reading and pronunciation differ and this has resulted in 
facility for a large number of people. 

The Muslim Ummah throughout guarded these 
recitations also and valuable services have been rendered by 
Muslims in this connection. Even a short description of 
these admirable efforts is not possible here. However, a 
few hints are necessary. 

We have already stated that the Quran depended for its 
dissemination primarily on memory and narration rather than 
on transcription. Further, it has been stated that the 'Uthmani 
transcriptions were kept free of dots and diacritical marks so 
that all the established recitals could be incorporated in them. 
So, when Sayyidina 'Uthman 4& sent these transcriptions to 
different parts of the Islamic world, he also sent with them 
such recitors who could teach correct recitation to people. 
When these Qaris (recitors) reached their different 
destinations they taught the Quran according to their own 
version, and different recitals spread among the people. 
Many devoted Muslims made it a mission of their lives to 
learn the different recitals and teach them to others. And in 
this way was founded the "Science of Recitals" and people 
seeking perfection in this branch of knoweledge flocked from 
every region to the "Imams of Qira'at" (Leading men in 
Recitals). Some of them learnt just one recital, some two, 
some three, some seven and even more. In this connection 
there was one fundamental rule which was universally 
recognised by the Ummah and acted upon everywhere. This 

\lt approach to the Quranic sciences 


Upulated that only such "Recital" will be accepted as 
i furanic as fulfilled three conditions: 
i There should be room for it in the ' Uthmanl 

■ It conformed to the rules of Arabic grammar. 
I It should be authentically proved to be from the Holy 

Prophet gji, and commonly known to the "Imams of 


Any recital falling short of even one condition was not 
..( cepted as "Quran". In this way a large number of 
uninterrupted recitals kept on being transmitted from 
generation to generation. It also happened, that for the sake 
of convenience, one Imam adopted one or a few recitals 
;uid started teaching them exclusively and^that particular 
recital was named after that particular Imam. Thereafter, 
scholars started writing books bringing these recitals 
together, Thus, Imam Abu'Ubayd Qasim binSallam, Imam 
Abu Hatim Sijistani, Qadi Isma'Tl and Imam Abu Ja'far 
TabarT compiled books on this art in which more than 
twenty Recitals were collected. Then JAllamah Abu Bakr 
Ahmad bin Musa bin 'Abbas bin Mujahid (Died 324 AH) 
published a book in which recitals from only seven recitors 
were collected. This publication became so immensely 
popular that, compared to other recitals, these seven 
recitals acquired much greater popularity, so much so that 
some people came to believe that only these recitals are 
correct and uninterrupted, and the other ones are either 
incorrect or they are interrupted in their transmission. The 
fact is that Ibn Mujahid' s collection of these seven recitals 
was only accidental and he never intended to say that 
recitals other than these were incorrect and unacceptable. 
Another misunderstanding that was created by this work of 
Ibn Mujahid was that some people began to think that it 
were these seven recitals that were actually meant by the 

218 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

"Seven Letters" whereas proper explanation of the "Seven 
Letters" is that which has been discussed in detail in the 
preceding pages. 

However, the seven recitors (QarTs) who became most 
famous as a result of Ibn Mujahid's work are the following: 
1. 'Abdullah bin KathTr ai-Dari (died 120 AH). He had 
the opportunity to have seen the Companions Sayyidina 
Anas bin Malik, 'Abdullah bin Zubayr and Abu Ayyub 
Ansari, and his recital gained greater popularity in 
Makkah. Among the reporters of his recital Bazzi and 
Qunbul were more well-known. 

2. Naf'i bin 'Abdur Rahman bin Abi Nu'aim (died 169 
AH). He had his lessons from seventy such followers 
of the Companions who were directly the pupils of 
Sayyidina Ubayy bin Ka'ab, 'Abdullah bin Abbas and 
Abu Hurayrah dfe>. His recital was more popular in 
Madinah and Abu Musa Qaluh (died 220 AH) and Abu 
Sa'Td Warsh (died- 197 AH), were more popular among 
his promoters. 

3. 'Abdullah Yahsubi popularly known as Ibn '"Amir (died 
118 AH). He had seen the Compnaions Sayyidina 
Nil' man bin Bashir and Sayyidina Wathilah Bin Asq'a 
u^p Juj iii ^j and learnt the art of Qir'at (Recital) 
from Sayyidina MughTrah bin Shahab Makhzumi who 
was a pupil of Sayyidina 'Uthman ^>. His recital was 
mostly prevalent in Syria, and Hisham and Dhakwan 
were more popular among the reporters of his recital. 

4. Abu 'Amr Zabban ibn ul-'Ala bin 'Ammar (Died 154 
AH). He has quoted Mujahid and Sa'Td bin Jubayr to 
have narrated from Ibn 'Abbas and Ubayy bin Ka'ab, and 
his recital became very popular in Basrah. Famous among 
the reporters of his recital are Abu 'Umar al-Dawri (Died 
246 AH) and Abu Shu'ayb Susi (Died 261 AH). 

5. Hamzah bin HabTb Al-Zayyat Mawla 'Akramah bin 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 219 

Rabi Al-Ta'imT (Died 188 AH). He was a student of 
Sulayman A'amash who was a pupil of Yahya bin 
Wathab who was the student of Zirr bin Hubaysh who 
had been benefited by Sayyidina 'Uthmah* 'Ali and 
Sayyidina Ibn Mas'ud *§&. Of his reporters Khalaf bin 
Hisham (Died 188 AH) and Khallad bin Khalid (Died 
220 AH) were more popular. 

6. 'Asim bin Abi-an-Najud al-AsadT (Died 127 AH). He 
was a pupil of Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud through 
Zirr ibn Hubaysh and of Sayyidina 'Ali through Abu 
'Abdur Rahman Salmi. Of the reporters of his recital 
Shu'bah bin 'Ayyash (Died 193 AH) and Hafs bin 
Sulayman (Died 180 AH) were more popular. Nowadays 
the recital is made according to the report of the latter. 

7. Abul Hasan Ali bin Hamzah Al-Kisaf Al-NahvT (Died 
189 AH). Famous among his reporters are Abul Harith 
Maruzi (Died 240 AH) and Abu fc Umar ul-Dadri (who 
has also reported the recital of Abu 'Amr.) 

The recitals of the last three became prevalent mostly in 

Kufah. 2^ 

As has already been stated there are several other 
recitals, apart from the above Seven, which are correct and 
uninterrupted. So when the misconception grew that the 
correct recitals are limited to these seven, several scholars 
(namely 'Allamah Shedhai and Abu Bakr bin Mehran ) 
collected ten instead of seven recitals in a book and the 
phrase 'Ten Recitals' became popular. 267 

The ten recitals comprised three recitals in addition to 

the above seven. The additional three are as under: 

1) Ya'qub bin Is'haq Al-Khidram! (Died 225). He learnt 

from Sal am bin Sulayman Al-TawTl who learnt from 

4 Asim and Abu fc Amr His recitals gained popularity in 


267. An-Nashr fil-Qirat -al-'Ashr. vl. p34. 

220 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

2) Khalaf bin Hisham (died 205 AH)'. He had learnt from 
SalTm bin 'Isa bin Hamzah bin HabTb Zayy at. Hence, 
he also reported the recitation of Hamzah. His 
recitation was prevalent in Kufah. 

3) Abu Ja'far YazTd ibn al-Qa'qa' (died 130 AH). He had 
learnt from Sayyidina 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, Sayyidina 
Abu Hurayrah and Ubayy bin K'ab 4$& and his recital 
was mostly recognised in Madinah. 

Some people however, added another four recitors to the 
above ten, to make the total to fourteen. These four were 

1) Hasan Basri (Died 110 AH). He was a renowned 
Tabi'ee and his recital was centered at Basrah. 

2) Muhammad bin Abdur Rahman Ibn Muhaysan (D.123 
AH). He was a student of Mujahid and teacher of Abu 
'Amr'. His centre was in Makkah. 

3) Yahya bin Mubarak YazTdi (died 202 AH). He lived in 
Basrah and learnt from Abu 'Amr and Hamzah. 

4) Abul Farj Muhammad bin Ahmad Shambuzi (Died 388 
AH). He lived in Baghdad and his teacher was Ibn 
Shambuz. He was thus called Shambuzi. 

Some authors have mentioned the name of Sulayman 
A 'mash in place of Shamuzi. Of the fourteen, the first ten are 
regarded as un- interrupted while the others are uncommon. 268 

It seems appropriate to point to the wrong interpretation 
given to the action of 'All amah Ibn Mujahid by the 
well-known orientalist of our time Montgomery Watt in 
pursuance of his teacher, Bell. He has written that by 
collecting seven recitals Ibn Mujahid has on the one hand 
indicated that these "Seven Recitals" correspond to the 
"Seven Letters", and on the other he claimed that no other 
recital was reliable. Hence, other scholars also adopted this 
view and it was on this basis that they compelled Ibn 

268. Manahil ul-'Irfah v.l. p.460. Ref: Munjidul-Muqrv'Tn, Ibn JazarT 
vl, p46. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 221 

Miqsarn and Ibn Shambudh to retract from their views 
because they considered other recitals equally reliable. 269 

As it is, none of the facts in the above mentioned 
statement of Watt is correct. We have just explained that 
several scholars and recitors ofthat time had writen 
down several variations of recitals in a single book. 
None of them had meant that other recitals were not 
reliable. Ibn Mujahid himself has not hinted that his 
collection of seven recitals meant "Seven Letters 1 ' nor 
has he claimed that correct recitals are confined to these 
seven. Other scholars also never inferred from his work 
that he intended to label the other recitals as unreliable. 
On the contrary, all the other research scholars in this 
subject have constatnly refuted this idea. The most 
authentic scholar of the Science of Qira'at (Recitals), 
'Allama Ibn-ul-Jazari (known with the title of Muhaqiq 
and Research Scholar), strongly refuted this idea. At one 
place he writes. 

"We have made this discussion lengthy because we have 
been informed that some ignorant people consider only 
these seven recitals as correct, and say that by the phrase 

Seven Letters in the Hadith is meant these seven recitals 

That is why many of the earlier scholars have criticised Ibn 
Mujahid that instead of collecting seven recitals, he should 
have mentioned more or less than seven recitals or he ought 
to have made his purport clear so that ignorant people had 
not suffered from this misunderstanding." 270 

Hafiz Ibn Flajar and 'Allamah SuyTFfi have quoted 
several Imams of Recitals wherein it has been clarified that 
Ibn Mujahid had collected "Seven Letters" only in reliance 
to "Seven Transcriptions", otherwise he never meant to 

269. M.W, Watt. Bells Introduction to the Quran (Islamic Surveys 
Series 8) Edinburgh 1970 pp48, 49, W.M. Bell.) 

270. An-Nashr-filrQiraarll-'Ashr vl ( pp35, 36. 

222 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

class the other recitals as incorrect or unreliable. 271 

As for the story of Ibn Miqsam and Ibn Shambuz, the 
scholars had not criticised them why they considered 
recitals other than these seven as correct. But the reason 
was, that three conditions must be fulfilled before calling a 
recital as correct (a) that it must be compatible with the 
'Uthman Transcription, (b) that it must correspond to the 
rules of Arabic grammar (c),that its uninterrupted 
transmission from the Holy Prophet M must be 
authentically proved, and that it be popularly known to the 
Imams of Qir'at. Any recital that fulfills these conditions 
shall be acceptable whether it is included in the Seven 
recitals or not, and if even a single condition is not met it 
will be not reliable even though it may be included in these 
seven recitals. But Ibn Miqsam and Ibn Shambuz 272 had 
violated this established rule. Ibn Miqsam held that only the 
first two conditions were sufficient for the "Recital" to be 
correct. A recital would therefore be acceptable if it is in 
accordance with the 'Uthmani Transcription and happens to 
correspond to Arabic grammar, even if it is lacking in a 
proper line of transmission. As against this, Ibn Shambuz 
stated that a "Recital" reported through uninterrupted 
authentic narrations shall be acceptable even if it does not 
conform to the "Uthmani script" .. On this basis all the 
scholars refuted them collectively and ultimately both of 
them came round to the opinion of the majority. 273 

271. Fath-ul-BarTv9, pp25-27, Al-Itqan vl, pp82, 83. 

272. their full names: Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Al-Hasan bin Yaqub 
and Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Ayyub. 

273. An Nashr fil Qiraat al 'Ashr vl, pp 17-35. Al-Itqan vl, pi 9. 
TarTkh Baghdad, Khatlb, vl, p280. Wafyac Al A'yan, Ibn 
Khalkan vl, p49, printedt in Egypt . 



The Holy Quran has stated: 

Surely We have revealed the Admonition (the Quran), 
and surely We are its Guardian. (Al-Hijr, 15:9) 

Through this revelation it has been prophesised that the 
Quran will exist in its original form till the Last Day, and 
no power on earth will succeed in destroying it or causing 
any alteration and adulteration in it. It has been made 
apparent in the preceding pages how Almighty Allah has 
made this prophesy practically true and how the Quran has 
been safeguarded in every age. Hence, today it can be said 
with full confidence and without any fear of contradiction 
that we have the Quran in exactly the same form as it was 
taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad ^ and even a 
single dot or stroke could not be changed. 

This is not only the faith of Muslims but unbiased 
non-Muslims have also accepted this fact and could not dare 
to deny it. But when one's vision is blurred by malice and 
prejudice even a crystal glass would appear murky to him. 
And this is the reason that some non-Muslim writers have 
raised suspicions and objections about the preservation of 
the Holy Quran. We would like here to briefly discuss the 
truth about these suspicions. 

*y o /4 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 


Ie^ e T E r S ve S d OF EARLY days could not 

The well-known Orientalist F. Buhl has claimed that 
Quranic verses were not being written in die early days of 
their revelation, and their preservation depended entirely on 
the memory of the Prophet jg and his Companions. Hence 
it is quite likely that the verses reveald during the period 
may^ot have been preserved. In support of his claim 
Buhl has presented two verses of the Holy Quran: 

I \— i 


We shall make you (O Prophet) recite (our revelations) 
so that you shall not forget, except what Allah wills. 

(A]--AIa, 68:6) 

^ j* ^ j^-. ^ U^ j\ fj "^ £i^ c 

2: Whatever revelation We abrogate or cause to be 
forgotten, We bring one better than it or similar to it. 

(Al-Baqarah, 2:106) 

But anybody even with a rudimentary understanding of 
the Quran and its exegesis can see the absurdity of this 
objection because these two verses refer only to the 
abrogated verses of the Quran. 

The background of revelation of the first verse is that in 
the beginning whenever Jibril g@ used to bring some verses 
the Prophet M used to hurriedly repeat them for fear of 
forgetting them and this caused him a great deal of strain 
This verse comforted him by assuring him that he should 
not put himself to hardship of memorising the revelations 
because Allah has taken the responsibility of preservation of 

274: F. Buhl-Encyclopaedia of Islam v3, ppl067, Koran. 

in approach to the Quranic sciences 225 

i he Quran upon Himself, hence he would not forget them. 
But this could have been taken amiss due to the fact that 
some verses of the Quran were forgotten later on due to 
their abrogation. This has been explained by saying *Li>u^i 
*bi (except that which Allah Wills). This only means that 
only that verse would be forgotten that was abrogated and 
not otherwise. Similarly, the other verse only denotes that 
due to their abrogation some verses would be forgotten by 
the Prophet g$g and his Companions. 275 

Hence, the most the two verses prove is that when Allah 
abrogated some verses, He not only ordered their erasure 
from the transcriptions but simultaneously caused their 
obliteration from the memories of the people. As far as the 
non-abrogated verses are concerned, it has been categorically 
affirmed about them that they will never be forgotten by the 
Prophet S|. How does it follow from this there is a 
possibility of forgetting the un-abbrogated verses also? 

The argument on the basis of these verses that the Quran 
was not being recorded in the early days of Islam is utterly 
baseless and absurd. We have already mentioned that it is 
authentically proved that the Quran existed in written form 
with the Companions before the acceptance of Islam by 
'Urnar <4&>. 

.Hence the mention of only "forgetfulness" in the first 
verse does not mean that the Quran did not exist in written 
form, but its actual reason is that this verse deals with the 
topic of "forgetfulness". Any mention of erasure of the 
written verses at this point would have been out of the way 
and out of context. That is why the second verse deals with 
both abrogation ('erasure of written sentences')and 
forgetfulness because in this verse the subject of discussion 
is abrogation. The literal meaning of abrogation is erasure, 
or blotting out, hence this v erse clearly denotes that the 

275: TafsTr Al-QurtubT v20, pl8. 

226 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Quran was present in written form and some of its verses 
were erased due to their abrogation. It is surprising that the 
verse which is actually affirming the Quran's existence in 
written form is being presented by Buhl to negate it. 



Orientalist D.S. Margoliouth has tried to cast doubts 
about the preservation of the Quran on the basis of a 
tradition reported by Bukhari and Muslim. 276 It has been 
reported by Sayyidah Aishah \#* Ji*j h LS -i> J that the Hoy 
Prophet ii once heard one of his Companions reciting the 
Quran, and siad: 

^— - *«- # o^ . ^ 

Allah's mercy be on him. he made me remember a verse 
that I had forgotten. 277 

By quoting this narration Margoliouth intends to 
deduce that if the Prophet <jgg can forget one verse at any 
time, it may possibly happen with other verses as well. 
Probably he also wants to indicate that the Quran did not 
exist in writing otherwise the Prophet M would not have 
forgotten that verse. But this objection is so absurd and 
baseless that even a man with ordinary intelligence will 
not accept it. Sometimes it does happen that man does 
remember something yet due to a prolonged dissociation 
with it he does not have it fresh in his memory but as 

276: Margoliouth^ D.S. Encydclopaedia of Religion and Ethics p543. 
277: Sahih Bukhari Fadail al Quran v2, p. 753 & Sahih Muslim vl, 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 227 

soon as someone mentions it, it becomes fresh in memory 
again. Actually this is not forgetfulness but only a 
temporary dissociation of thought. The same happened 
with the Holy Prophet ^g. Terming it forgetfulness on the 
basis of such an incident is the height of travesty which is 
nothing but sheer bigotry. On the contrary had Mr. 
Margoliouth viewed it with insight and justice he would 
have realised that this incident actually proves that Allah 
has safeguarded the Quran in such an extraordinary 
manner that no possibility exists for any part of it to 
become lost. The incident simply proves the reality that 
every single verse of the Quran was made to be 
memorised by so many people that if ever a verse did not 
remain fresh in the memory of the Prophet $g for the time 
being there was no possibility of its getting lost. 

The objection that this incident denotes that the Quran, 
at that time, did not exist in written form is even more 
unfounded and ridiculous: We have already pointed out that 
the only thing this incident says is that a verse was revived 
in the memory of the Holy Prophet *H by its recitation by a 
Companion. It does not prove that the Quran was not found 
in written form. Does Mr. Margoliouth think that a thing 
once written can never become obscure from a person's 
mind for a short while? Further, the whole world knows 
that the Holy Prophet ^ did not know reading or writing. 
So, there was no connection between his remembrance of 
the Quran and its transcription, hence inference that the 
Quran did not exist in written form can be drawn from this 
incident only by a person who has closed, the doors of 
justice and wisdom on himself. 

228 -4" approach to the Quranic sciences 



Margoliouth has advanced another very strange 
argument about his contention that the Quran was not 
written. He points out that the Quran states in Surah 
An-Nisa ': 

&r ° t> &; 

And (O Believers!) He has indeed (already) revealed to 
you in the Book that when you hear the revelations of 
Allah being disbelieved in and mocked at, sit not with 
them, (who do this) until they indulge in a discourse 
other than that.,.. (An-Nisa, 4:140) 

This verse is Madinian and the Makkan verse referred 
to in it is as under: 

% jsft P*J*- J* 

(O Prophet) when you see those who meddle with our 
revelations, you withdraw^ from them till they meddle 
with some other discourse. (Al-An'am, 6:68) 

The first verse refers to the second verse but their 
wordings are different. Margoliouth infers from this that 
the Quran did not exist in written form, because if it were 
written down, the first verse must have used the very same 
words as the second verse. The difference in the wordings 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 229 

means that the words of the second verse were not 
preserved when the first verse was revealed. 278 

This argument of Margoliouth is so palpalbly unsound 
that one feels abashed even to refute it. The question here 
arises, "If the words of the above mentioned verse of 
Surah Al-An' am were not preserved at the time of 
revelation of Surah An-Nisa 1 how were they written in the 
Quran later on?" If the original words of Surah Al-An' am 
were not preserved, logically the later scribes would have 
written there exactly the same words as in Surah 
An-Nisa \ The difference in words in fact denotes that the 
words of both the verses were fully preserved and 
unchanged, and there was no element of conjecture or 
guess. If the transcription of the Qura~n ha0 been 
guess-work there should have been no difference in the 
wordings of these two verses. 

The fact is that in every language there are two ways of 
making reference to a preceding subject. Sometimes the 
exact words of the previous narration are repeated, which 
form of speech is known in English as Qirect Narration; 
while sometimes the same words are not repeated but the 
basic meanings are described in different words, known as 
Indirect Narration. Of these, the former form is not 
commonly adopted, generally it is the latter form that is 
resorted to in literary phraseology. This latter form is the 
one adopted in Surah An-Nisa \ Another reason for this is 
that many a time every Surah of the Quran has a different 
style in relation to the formation of its sentences. Hence if a 
sentence from another Surah is added in between its own 
phrases the sequence of the verse would break and the flow 
of these sentences would not be maintained. Anybody 
having the slightest literary taste can see that reproduction 
of the exact words of the Surah Al-An'rim in the verse of 

278: Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics vl(), p542. 

230 A " approach to the Quranic sciences 

Surah An-Nisa' would break the sequence and flow of the 
phrase .Further, it should be noted that the entire Surah 
Al-An'am about which Margoliouth says that it was not 
written, was revealed in one instance and it contains the 
following verse also: 279 

m iS W& 'SslJ, Wj& au^f %£f uv, 

And this (Quran) is the blessed Book which We have 
revealed confirming that which was (revealed) before it. 

(Al-An'anv, 6:92) 
In the verse the_word 'Book* has been used for the 
Quran. If the Quran was not being written uptil the | 

revelation of Surah Al-An'am it could not be called a 
"Book" which word implies only to written materials. In 
short, this objection of Margoliouth, too, turns out to be 
unfounded, absurd and a product of animus and prejudice. 



Raising his fourth objection on the preservation of the 
Quran Margoliouth says that Bukhari has stated that the 

Wj*-* O? p-^ } ^>. L* \jL>s 01 ill 

(Except that you respect the relation that exists between 
me and you). 

was a divine revelation through Wahy. but the commentators 
say that this sentence does not exist in the Quran. Hence they 
consider this sentence asjm_explanatory note to the Qurlnic 
verse 23 of Surah Ash-Shura, 42, that is: 

279: Tafseer Ibn KathTr vl, pi 22. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 231 

-jyiJl c5? ®^ *•*-" "' 

but (I seek to guide you) in respect of love of 

kinship.... 280 

But we wish to state with full sense of responsibility 
that with these words an Orientalist of the reputation of 
Margoliouth has made such a slanderous statement which 
cannot be termed as anything other than a dishonest and 
prejudiced bias or at the least a lamentable ignorance. With 
this, Mr. Margoliouth has tried to create an impression that 
Imam Bukhari considered a sentence as part of the Quran 
which is not found in the Quran at present. Any unbiased 
and honest person may turn the pages of $ahih Bukhari and 
find that he has copied the verse in exactly the same words 
as they exist in the Qura"n and the sentence &IV 

\jLai) has been written as its explanation. The 

complete text of Imam Bukhari 's statement is as under: 

^ .... jCio # j^s^ LuJb- ^,yA\ J> i*jj\ i\ <Jy ^b 

Qi x^ JIB ^.jti\ Ji Sj^JI y\ «dy jp Js*. *i\ Zf^- Cj* 

CHAPTER, The statement of Allah "Except in respect 
of love of kinship (42:23) Narrator Muhammad bin 

Bashshar from Ibn 'Abbas ^k> that he was asked 

(regarding) "but (I seek to guide you) in respect of love 

280. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, vl . p543. 

232 -4" approach to the Quranic sciences 

of kinship" (42:23). SaTd bin Jubayr said: "It means 
here (to show what is due for) the relatives of 
Muhammad ^." On that Ibn 'Abbas said: You have 
hurried in giving the answer! There was no branch of 
the tribe of Quraysh but the Prophet had relatives 
therein. The Prophet M said "I do not want anything 
from (you) except to be kind to me from my kinship 
with you." 281 

Jt is quite clear now that under the heading of the verse 
Imam Bukhari has written exactly the same sentence of the 
verse that occurs in the Quran. Then as an explanation to it 
Sayyidina Ibn 'Abbas 4& was asked to comment on the 
verse ^J)\ J Sa^Ji y and he said j- ^ _, ^ u \jLas 01 ^i 
^'>J> but Mr.Margoliouth has the effrontery to state that 
Imam Bukhari believes this sentence as part of Quranic 
revelation. One can easily understand how deep and abiding 
is the prejudice which animates these so called pioneers of 
research and truth due to their prejudice against the Quran, 
and how tightly the malice and grudge against Islam has 
trapped them. 

L^ -Oil j^olji J.JS ^^i J, 

In their hearts is a disease, so Allah has increased their 
disease. (Al-Baqarah. 2:10) 

281: Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Tafseer, surah Hameem 'Ayn. Sin, Qaf. 
v2, p7£ printed at Karachi Fath ul Ban v8. p457, 'Uni-datul 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 233 


'AISHAH i^jwin^j ^k 

The fifth objection raised by Margoliouth is that 
according to a narration of Musnad Aljmad some verses 
were lost 282 by Sayyidah 'Ayshah if* Ju* iui ^j . The 
narration referred to by Margoliouth is as under, 


ajI' oJ^Jl aU eJli jJl-j <ul* 4JI ^0 L$ d\ f £jj «j£\s- ji> 

^j jij^ C-»J *ijj ^ c-Jlio lyup j^}\ CLJ\*^JJ ^rj\ 

OjaI> LI* LiJ jjuw j aJ^ <tf)l ^J-^ aIJI J j— j (jP^*^ ^» <_5~rf 

Sayyida 'Aishah if* Juj 4»' ^j»j stated that verses about 
stoning and ten 'Rid' at of older people were revealed. 
These verses were written on a paper that was kept under 
the bed. When the Prophet M suffered from the agony of 
death we got busy in looking after him. Our pet animal 
came and ate that paper. 283 

The fact is that the verses mentioned in this narration 
were the ones that were abrogated for recital. Sayyidah 
'Aishah if* Ji*J *»' ^j herself believes on the abrogation 
of those verses. If she had kept them written in a paper it 
does not mean anything other than the preservation of a 
relic. She, however, remembered them and if she knew 
them to be a part of the Quran she would have got them 
transcribed in the copies of the Quran, but she never 
made any attempt all her life. It is clear that she herself 
considered them no more than an academic momento. 

282: Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics vlO, p543. 

283: Musnad Ahmad; Za"w'id, Masnadat 'Aishah v6, p269. Beirut. 

234 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

This incident does not cause any reproach to the 
preservation of the Quran. 



Some people have doubted the preservation of the 
Quran on the basis of a tradition of Sayyidina Qatadah <^>. 
This tradition is quoted by Bukhari in the following words. 


• jUaJ^I ^ ^^IT Zjuj\ Jli <p±^ _, «Jlp «dJ| t J^ a ^Jl j^s, 

"I asked Sayyidina Anas bin Malik as to who collected 
the Quran in the days of the Prophet M- He said. Four 
persons, all from among the Ansars, Ubayy bin Ka'b, 
Mu'az bin Jabal, Zayd bin Thabit and Abu Zayd." 

On the basis of this Haciith some people think that in 

the days of the Prophet M there were only four persons 

who had memorised the Quran by heart. In fact this is 

not true. We have already given the names of those who 

had memorised the Quran during the days of the Prophet 

M- Hence the narration of Sayyidina Anas bin Malik 

" certainly does not mean that there were no more than 

these four memorisers of the Quran in the entire group 

of the Companions. But in the tradition under reference 

the phrase "who collected the Quran" has been used, and 

the ^orrect interpretation of this is "Who wrote the 

Quran"? Sayyidina Anas 4& in fact meant that these 

were the four persons who had with them the complete 

manuscript of the Quran during the very days of the 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 235 

Prophet <H§, 

Further, tfafiz Ibn Hajar Up & w-j has written the 
full sotry of the narration of Sayyidina Anas 4#s> with 
reference to a narration from TabarT as follows "Once the 
tribes of Aws and Khazraj each claimed supremacy over 
the other and boasted feats of their members." 

The .people of Aws enumerated the names of their 
tribesmen who had gained a special status in Islam. In 
reply to this the people of Khazraj (including Sayyidina 
Anas) said that there were four persons in their tribe who 
had collected the entire Quran. Hence his narration could 
also mean that there were only these four persons in both 
the tribes who had collected the Quran. 284 




Some people make the most of the narration of Musnad 
Ahmad which states that Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas'Ud 
did not consider the last two Surahs of the Quran (Al-Falaq 
and An-Nas) as part of the Quran. 283 

This is a false allegation. In fact 'Abdullah bin 
Mas'TTd, like the entire Unimah considered these two 
Surahs as part of the Quran, and the traditions which are 
against it are not correct. It is proved from the fact thai 
the uninterrupted recitals from him contain these Surahs. 
Of the ten recitals the one from ' Asim is quoted by Abu 
Abdur Rahman SulmT, Zirr ibn Hubaysh and Abu 
Amr-al-Shaybani, and all of them have reported it from 
Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas 'ud. 2 * Similarly, the recital 

284: For details see Fatb,-ul-Bari v9, pp4l,42. 

285: Wan: W. Montgomery; Bell's Introduction to the Quran p46. 

286: An-Nashr fil Qir'at al 'Ashr. Ibn ul JazarT. vl, pi 56. 

236 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

of Hamzah is quoted by 'Alqamah. Aswad, Ibn Wahb, 
Masruq, 'Asim bin Damrah and Harith and all of them 
have reported it from 'Abdullah bin Mas'TTd. 287 Further, 
the recitals of KisaT and Khalaf are also traced back to 
'Abdullah bin Mas'ud because Kisa"i learnt it from 
Hamzah, and Khalaf was a student of his student. 

Since there is a consensus on the fact that all the reports 
of "The ten recitals" are the most convincing and authentic 
reports and are being transmitted uninterruptedly from 
generation to generation 288 hence, isolated report against 
these must be rejected and cannot be accepted. 

It is on this basis that most scholars of Haclith and 
researchers have termed as weak, invented or at least 
unacceptable reports that attribute the false belief towards 
'Abdullah bin_ Mas'ud. These scholars include 'Allamah 
Nawawi, 'Allamah Ibn Hazm, Imam Razi, Qadi Abu Bakr 
bin 'Arab! 'Allamah Bahr-ul-'Ulum, and of the latest era, 
the renowned research scholar 'Allamah Zahid Kautharf 

One may think that since Hafiz Ibn : Hajar and 

'Allamah NuruddTn Haythmi (*W ! ^^ J ) have asserted that 
all the narrators of these reports were reliable people 290 
how can these reports be termed as incorrect? But the 
people who have a knowledge of the science of Hadith 
know it well that reliability of the narrators alone is not 
sufficient for a tradition to be correct, but it is also 
necessary that it should have no element of flaw and 

287: Ibid pi 66. _ 

288: FaicJ ui-Bari vl, p262. 

289: See in sequential order Al-Itqan v2. p.81 . Al-Muhalla. Ibn Hazm 
vl, pi 3, Fawauh ur Rahmuu_Sherab Musllmuth Tbubut by 
Bahrul 'Ulum v2_, pI2. Maqalat ul KawtharT. pI6. My own 
Articje in Al-Balagh. SlTaban 1393. Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin 
Mas'ud and^Muwadhatayn. 

290: Fath al BarTv8, p3, Majmu'az Zawajd. HaythmT v7, p!49. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 237 

irregularity in it. All scholars of Ifadith have defined 
"Correct Tradition" as devoid of any defect or irregularity 
and if a tradition contains these elements, it would not be 
regarded as correct despite the reliability of its narrators. In 
his preface yafi? Ibn-us-Sallah writes as under. 

"Hence Tjladith Mu'allal (Motivated Tradition) is that 
wherein some defect may be suspected even though 
apparently it may seem to be correct. And this defect may 
be found even in its precedent wherein also the narrators 
are reliable men and in which all the conditions of 
authenticity seem to be present. The defect is comprehended 
by those having deep insight in the science of Hadith 
through several means e.g. by finding the narrator as an 
isolated one, or sometimes due to his opposition to some 
other narrator coupled with some other indications." 291 

Similarly, there is a kind of Tradition called "Shaz" 

(Rare). In it the narrators are reliable but because they 

oppose other narrators more reliable than themselves their 

report is not accepted. Hence, 'All amah NawawTand Ibn 

Hazm regard as unacceptable those ffadith that allege that 

'Abdullah bin Mas'ud did not consider the last Surahs as 

part of the Quran although their narrators are reliable men. 

They have the following reasons for their stand: 

1: These reports are defective because they are against 

such recitals of 'Abdullah bin Mas'iTd as have been 

reported uninterruptedly. 

2: The narration of Musnad Ahmad that describes the 

saying of Ibn Mas Mid... m «-*teS* j* k~J W^ (These two 

are not part of the Book of Allah) is reported only by 

'Abdur Rahman bin YazTd Nakh ! T. Nobody else has 

reported this sentence from him as such, 292 Also it is 

291: ^ath-ul-Mulhim vT, p54. 

292: Majma* Zaw id, HaythmT v7, pl49. and Path ur Rabbani vl8, 
pp35 1-352. 

23 X An approach to the Quranic sciences 

not an uninterrupted narration, hence it is classed as 
"Rare". According to the principles established by 
Scholars of Hadith "Rare reports" are not acceptable. 
3: Even if these reports are taken as correct they shall 
remain "Isolated News", and the Ummoh has 
consensus that any Isolated news that does not conform 
to the rule of continuity is unacceptable. The recitals of 
Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud *4& are proved 
through uninterrupted narrations and are doubtless 
authentic. Hence these isolated news against those 
narrations are unacceptable. 

The question now remains that if these narrations 
are not correct then why the reliable narrators reported 
such a baseless thing? The answer to this question is 
that although he believed them to be part of the Quran, 
"Abdullah bin Mas'iTd 4&> may not have written them 
in his manuscript for some reason. And reporter of this 
fact may have deduced from it that Ibn Mas'ud did not 
consider them to be Quranic revelations although it 
was a fact that he had not written them down in spite 
of believing them to be part of Quran. There could be 
many reasons for not writing them in his manuscript. 
For example, * All amah Zahid KawthrT has stated that 
he had not written them down because there was no 
fear of their being forgotten. Every Muslim remembers 
them by heart. 293 

This argument is supported by the fact that 'Abdullah 
bin Mas'ud *$b did not even write down the Surah 
Al-Fatiha in his manuscript. Imam Abu Bakr Al-AmbarT 
has reported that Ibn 'Abbas was asked about it and he 
replied that if he had to write Sitrah Al-Fatiha he would 
have written it with every Surah. Imam Abu Bakr says 
that this meant that since the Surah is recited with every 

293: Maqalat ul-Kawthari, pi 6. 

An approach to the Quranic .sciences 239 

Surah during Salah he had omitted it and relied on the 
memory of Muslims. 294 

Anyhow, there can be several explanations why 
Abdullah bin Mas'ud had not written surah, Al-Fatiha and 
these two Surahs in his manuscript. It cannot be concluded 
from it that he did not consider them to be part of the 
Quran, while the entire Quran has been reported 
uninterruptedly from him including these Surahs. 



We have already mentioned in detail about the 
accomplishment of the collection of the Holy Quran 
during the time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4$s> Some 
Orientalists have outright refused to accept this fact. They 
maintain that no attempt was officially made to collect and 
compile the Quran at that time and it was only Sayyidina 
'Uthman 4$e> who first performed this task. They further 
claim that the transcription of Sayyida Hafsah ( «u\J> ^pj 
\&z) which 'Uthman 4^s> used was her personal copy and 
not the officially compiled Quran. To support this claim 
they have raised certain objections to the tradition quoted 
by Bukhari that has been reported from Zayd bin Thabit 
4<k> and which has described the incident of collection and 
compilation of the Qur¥n at the time of Abu Bakr 
Siddiq. 295 All these objections have been summerised by 
Montgomery Watt. 296 It is unnecessary to mention all 
those objections in these pages and give an answer to 
them because most of them are such that anybody with 

294: TafsTr Al-QurtabT vl , ppl 14, 115. 

295: This report has been described in the preceding pages. 

296: Watt:Bell's Introduction to the. Quran 40, 42, Edingburgh 1970. 

240 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

common sense can easily answer them. However, some 
important objections are answered below. 

One of their objections is raised on a Hadith in Bukhari 
that Sayyidina Abu Bakr <$b was motivated to write down 
the Quran on observing that many martyrs the Battle of 
Yamamah were the Huffaz (those who had memorised the 
Quran). They state that the number of IJuffaz martyred in 
this battle was negligible because most of the martyrs were 
recently converted Muslims. This objection is not only 
unfounded but also absurd. It was first raised by Fredrich 
Schwally and subsequently other Orientalists blindly 
followed him, 297 and none of them bothered to have gone 
through the list of martyrs and see how far this objection is 
true? The fact is that the number of partcipants in the battle 
of Yamamah was there hundred and sixty MuhajirTn 
(Immigrants) and Ansars (Helpers) of Madinah and three 
hundered MuhajirTn (Immigrants) from other parts around 
Madinah. 298 Evidently the names of all the 660 persons 
could not be preserved. However, fifty eight names have 
been mentioned by Ibn KathTr. 299 

Of the these 58 persons one was Salim Mawla Abi 
yuzayfah $£> who held the most distinguished position 
among the Companions by virture of being a yafiz and Qari 
(Recitor). He was one of the four Companions who were 
specifically named by the Prophet St from whom the Quran 
may be learnt. He was the Imam (that is, he used to lead the 
Salah) at the mosque of Quba before the Hijrah and 'Umar 
4^> also used to offer Salah behind him. He often used to 
lead the Salah during journeys because he was regarded as 
the greatest scholar of the Quran. 300 

297: Watt: Bell's Introduction to the Quran. pl92. 

298: TarTkh-al-Taban v2, p516. 

299: Al-bidayali wan-Nthayah v6, p340. 

300: Al-IstTyab, Ibn 'Abdul Barr, v2, pp28,29. 

Aii approach to the Quranic .sciences ■ 241 

The other eminent person was Abu Huzayfah *$e> and 
he was the forty-fourth Muslim in history of Islam. 301 
His eminent place regarding the knowledge of Quran can 
well be imagined from his close connection with 
Sayyidina Salim apart from his long association with the 
Holy Prophet «|g. 

The third eminent person was Zayd bin Khattab 4#e>, the 
elder brother of Sayyidina 'Uraar *&> who had accepted 
Islam in its earliest days. Sayyidina 'Umar <g$jb used to say 
about him that every gust of wind brought the memory of 
Zayd to him. 302 

The fourth of them was Sayyidina Thabit bin Qays bin 
Shammas *$k> who was one of the scribes of Quranic 
revelations 303 and his special relation to the Quran is 

Another person was 'Abbad bin Bishar <«$k> who was 
present in the battle of Badr. Sayyida 'Ayshah Juj i>i ^j 
^ has stated that three Ansar Companions were superior 
to other Companions by virtue of their knowledge and 
wisdom, and one of them was 'Abbad bin Bishar. 304 

Also, Sayyidina Tufayl bin 'Amr ad-DausT 4#e> was 
martyred in the Battle of Yamamah. He was a distinguished 
Companion who had learnt the Quran from Ubayy bin Ka'b 
<m>, who was known to be the greatest scholar of Qir at. 305 
Also included in the list are brother of Zayd bin Thabit, 
YazTd bin Thabit, 

Uncle of Bara' bin 'Azib, Qays bin Harith, brother of. 
Sayyidina Mu'az, 'Alz bin Ma'iz, brother of Zubayr Sa"'ib 
bin 'Awwam and the son of Sayyidina 'Uthman bin 

301: Al-Isabah by Ibn Hajr v4, p43. 

302: Al-Bidayah wan-Nthayah, by Ibn KatbTr v6, p336. 

303: Z a"d-ul-Ma'ad, Ibn Qayyim vl, p30. Mu'Tniyah Egypt. 

304: Al-I$abah v2, p255 and Al Isfiyab 'Alo Hamish as Sahaba v2, 

305: Al-Isabah, v2, p217. 

242 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Maz'un S¥'id bin 'Uthmah. 

In addition to the above named there were 18 from 
among the immigrants, and about 20 from the Helpers 
(Ansar) who had accepted Islam before the battle of Badr. 
There were another 10 who were present in the battle of 
Uhud.. 306 This list of the martyrs at Yamamah includes 
only names such as could be preserved in the history. 
How many more Huffaz (recitors who had memorised the 
Quran) were among the unnamed martyrs is very difficult 
to estimate. But Fredrick Schwally, George Bell and 
Montgomery Watt see no recitor among them. And not 
only that, they want to impress the world of their research 
by calling them the recent converts and deny the 
authenticity of the tradition of Bukhari on the basis of this 
assumption. This is the height of treachery with the 
principles of learning and research, and an extremely 
deceitful technique to undermine justice and honesty. In 
fact, it was not just in the case of battle of Yamamah 
where all the fjuffaz Companions were martyred but this 
battle was just one in the long chain of battles that were to 
ensue, and there was a large number of learned 
Companions who were keen to sacrifice their lives in 
battles more fierce than this. If under these conditions, 
Sayyidina Umar 4#b got the idea to collect the Quran how 
can it be made a basis for rejecting a strongly authentic 
tradition of Sahih BukharT? 

• • • 

Another objection raised by Watt on this tradition is 
that if Sayyidina Abu Bakr ^ had prepared an official 
transciption of the Quran, it would have served as a 
precedent (a definite argument) but we do not find any 
evidence to that effect in the traditions of that time. The 
absurdity of this objection is also quite evident. That this 

306: AI-kamil-Al-Jazari v2, pi 40, and Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah, v6, 

I ii approach to the Quranic sciences 243 

transcription was a precedent and there can be no greater 
proof of this than the fact when Sayyidina 'Uthman *$& 
decided to piepare the copies of the Quran he sent for the 
same transcription from Sayyidah Hafsah i$i£ ^uj iii ^j that 
was prepared by Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4$», 

Watt has also raised the objeciton that if this was an 
official transcription then after the death of Sayyidina 
'Umar 4^> why did it remain in the custody of Sayyidah 
Hafsah \&* Ji*J 4&1 ^j instead of his successor Caliph. The 
answer to this objection is obvious that after the martyrdom 
of Sayyidina 'Umar 4^& there was no successor for 
sometime and all his belongings, including this 
transcription, were transferred to his daughter Sayyidah 
Hafsah v^ ^to «u»t ^ _> . No sensible person would make this 
a basis for rejecting such an authentic tradition. 



It has been described earlier that whenever any verse 
was revealed to the Prophet $g he used to send for the 
scribes and dictate it to them. In this way the entire 
QuriTn had been written down before the death of the 
Prophet «$£ but it was not compiled in a book form. 
Different verses were written on different things. 
Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4&> got all of them collected and 
transcribed into various folios. 

Contrary to this, Noldeke and Arthur Jeffery etc. 
have claimed that the Quran was not completely written 
down during the days of the Prophet $H, but only some 
portions of it were written. They have based their claim 
on the tradition of Sahih Bukhari that Sayyidina 'Umar 
4^ advised for collection of the Quran after the battle of 

244 Au approach to the Quranic sciences 

Yamarnah and the reason he advanced was that he feared 
loss of many portions of the Quran if the Huffaz 
(memorisers) got martyred as they were in that Battle. 
Arthur Jeffery has written that the cause of fear was the 
killings of those "Huffaz" who had memorised the 
Quran. He argues that there was no cause for such a 
fear if the entire Quran had already heen written during 
the lifetime of the Prophet $g. 307 

But it is extremely sad and surprising that like some 
other Orientalists Arthur Jeffery has also refused to 
accept the tradition of BukharT which denotes that 
Sayyidina Abu Bakr <*§& had got prepared an official 
copy of the Quran. 308 One wonders in which square to 
fit this double standard. On the one hand Jeffery 
considers all such events incorrect and suggests that 
preservation of the Quran was officially written during 
the days of Abu Bakr &, yet, on the other hand, he has 
based his argument on the wordings of Sayyidina 'Umar 
4& which is a part of the same tradition from Zayd bin 
Thabit 4^>. On the one hand, he calls the entire tradition 
as "fictition" but on the other hand he also quotes the 
same tradition for proving his claim that Quran was not 
written down. Still they have the audacity to claim that 
justice, fairplay and impartiality of the Orientalists was 
quite obvious and that it is evident from their books that 
they want nothing else but to unveil the reality! 

Anyway, if the method adopted for collection of the 
Quran during the Caliphate of Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq 
4&>, as described in the preceding chapter is kept in view, 
the argument of Jeffery automatically becomes void. To 

307: 'ArabicMuqaddamah, Kitab-ul-Masahif -Abi Daud Rahmania 

Press Egypt 1355 A.H. by Arthur Jeffery p5. 
308: Arthur Jeffery: Materials for the History of the Text of the 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 245 

remind once again, the method adopted for this purpose 
was based collecively on memory and manuscripts at the 
same time. No verse was put to wilting until its being a 
part of the Quran was proved by all available means. Such 
a guarded system could become possible only because apart 
from the Quranic verses being secure in writing, a large 
number of such persons were available who knew them by 
heart. Such persons were called Huffaz (plural of tfafiz) 
and if they had not been available in such a large number 
the feat of collection of the Quran could not have been 
accomplished so scrupulously as it deserved. 

In addition to that, an uninterrupted chain of 
transmission was needed for proof of the Quran and just 
one or two copies could not fulfil this requirement. Hence a 
substantial number of Huffaz was inevitable for the 
collection of the Quran. That was why Sayyidina 'Umar <$& 
feared that if the martyrdom of tfuffaz continued like that 
and the collection of the Quran was delayed, the chain of 
transmission could break or at least become weak, and it 
would not be possible to confirm the written verse from the 
uninterrupted memories of the Companions. Hence, it is 
quite false to use Sayyidina 'Umar's 4& caution to conclude 
that the Quran did not exist in written form. 



The reality of diferent recitals has been discussed in 
detail in the preceding pages. But a large group of 
Orientalists have presented another misleading view about 
it. Noldeke, Goldzehar and Jeftery etc have written that the 
difference in the recitals was not auditory in nature but the 
actual reason was that transcriptions that Sayyidina 
'Uthman 4& got prepared did not have dots and diacritical 

246 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

marks, and hence, it could be read in different ways. 
Everybody read it according to his own interpretation and 
that became his recital. 309 

The gist of the_claim of Orientalists is that the popular 
recitals of the Quran do not have any proof of origin from 
the Prophet ft but have come up from the different 
manners of reading the transcription of Sayyidina 'Uthmain 
4& that was without dots and diatrical marks. In fact these 
transcriptions were kept free of dots and diacritical marks 
intentionally so that all the recitals that had their origin 
from the Prophet j£ could be incorporated in the script and 
theirclaim of the orientalists is, therefore baseless. 

We have already described that in every age three 
conditions have been laid down for any recital to be 
acceptable as original. These three conditions are, 
1: There should be room for it in the 'Uthmani 

2: It must conform to the rules of Arabic Grammar. 
3: It should have authentic proof of uninterrupted 
transmission from the Prophet $g. 

Consequently, no recital was accepted to be correct 
until authentic proof was available for its origin from the 
Prophet S|. If the recitals had come into being simply due 
to 'Uthmani Script, each and every recital that could be 
incorporated in it would have been taken as correct, and the 
third condition would not have been introduced. Whoever 
will think over the different recitals of the Qurln will 
clearly see that at various occasions there was scope for 
reading a word in several ways but since they did not have 
proof of originating from the Prophet M they were not 
adopted. Th is will be clear from the following two 

309: Arthur Jeffrey Kitlb-ul-Masahif p7. Rahmlnia Press Egypt 1355 
A.H. Madhahib utTafsir f I IsIamT. Goldzehar Abrabic tr Doctor 
Aboul HalTm Najjar p8. Al Khanji Press Cairo 1374 AH 

Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 247 


examples. In surah Al-Baqarah it has been stated: i^j-i , 5l 
Jjj-au^^j J^p ifM o^-ji ^j ipbj-i. In one recital the underlined 
word is read as J-^e *i (la yuqbalu) and in another recital it 
is read as J-# *i (La tuqbalu); but a similar verse occurs in 
Surah Al-Baqarah with the words &jj*«j> p*%j tetiA t$*£$ ^ j . 
Here the only recital is l$*atf V (L« r«r//? 'fa 'uha) and there is 
no alternate recital as i&m*i (La yan'fa'ufia) although it can 
be incorporated in 'Uthmani script because in that 
transcription it was written as ^*^ V and thus it could be 
read in both ways. But because the other recital has no 
proof of its origin from the Prophet i^g, none of the recitors 
adopted it. 

Similary, in Surah Ya-sln it occurs i>\ U-A dljt »i) oy>\ uji 
JjCjjT4J Jji According to one recital, the underlined word 
is read as OjS^i fa'yakunu and in another recital it is read as 
"Oj£J (/w yakuna), but a similar verse in Surah Al-'Imran, 
■'JjZLJ jT 4J <JjZj Uj\i \j>\ ^tai \i\ has only one recital as 
(fayakunu) and the other recital has not been adopted by 
any one despite its scope in the 'Uthmani Script. 310 

There are many other examples like these which clearly 
indicate that the recitals did not come into being due to the 
script but because they had authentic uninterrupted link 
with the Prophet $g and in, order to preserve them 
Sayyidina 'Uthmaxi 4^> kept his transcription free of dots 
and diacritical marks. 

That is why only one person (Abu Bakr bin Muqsim 311 ) 
can be named in the entire Ununah who had adopted the 
view that recitals could be invented from 'Uthmani 
transcriptions according to one's own interpretations and it 
was not necessary for them to have their origin from the 

310: Both these examples have been taken from TarTkh-ul-Quran 

ppl28, 129 by 'Allamah Tahir Kurdi. 
311: His full name is Muhammad bin Hasan bin YaqTFb Ibn Muqsim. 

Born 265 AH, Died 357 AH. 

248 Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 

Prophet JJBg. But when he pronounced his misleading view, 
he was severely reprimanded by the entire Muslim world, 
and the Caliph called him before a council of the "Reciters' 
and "Jurists" and demanded from him to repent which he 
did. and gave a written proclamation of his turning back 
from this veiw. 312 

This incident clearly denotes that to innovate recitals 
from 'Uthmani transcriptions according to one's own 
interpretation has always been regarded as an aberration in 
the Muslim world. There has always been a consensus that 
only such recitals of the Quran would be taken as reliable 
as are originated authentically from the Prophet ggg If the 
recitals had come into being simply due to difference of 
interpretation in reading the 'Uthmani script, Ibn Muqsim 
would not have been reprimanded like that. Hence, the 
claim of the Orientalists that the recitals came into being 
due to absence of dots and diacritical marks in 'Uthmani 
transcriptions is baseless and unfounded. On the contrary, 
the truth is that these recitals are proved through 
uninterrupted chain from the Prophet M and it was to 
preserve them that 'Uthman *&> had kept his transcriptions 
devoid of dots and diacritical marks so that all the accepted 
recitals could be incorporated in their script. 



Some Orientalists are making a mountain out of a 
molehill through false assumptions on the basis of rare 
recitals of the Quran. Particularly Goldzehar and Jeffery 

312: TarTkh Baghadad al KhatTb v2 p206-208 printed Beirut It is also 
written in this book that Abu Ahmad Al-Fardi Up ill ju*-; saw 
him after his death in his dream that he offered Safah turning his 
back to the Qiblah. He interpreted it as a result of his opposition 
to the scholars in Recital. 

— . - 249 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

have quoted several examples of these recitals and have 
drawn self-conceived inferences from them. 313 In these 
pages it is not possible to present all those examples and 
expose the reality about them. For this task a whole book 
will be required. 314 Also we feel that this would be 
unnecessary. However, we wish to mention some 
fundamental facts about the rare recitals, and we do hope 
that with these in view the readers will understand the 
rejection of the false assumptions of these Orientalists that 
they have made on the basis of rare recitals. 

We have stated earlier that Muslims are united on their 
understanding that only such recitals of the Quran are 
reliable that fulfil three conditions, namely _ 

1: The particular recital can be incoiporated in 'Uthmani 

2: It should conform to the rules of Arabic Garammar. 
3: It must have proof of authentic uninterrupted 

transmission from the Holy Prophet $g, or at least it 

must be popular among the scholars of Recitals. 

Any recital lacking even one of the these three 
conditions is termed as "Rare Recital" and no one in the 
entire Ummah took it as reliable. A close look on "Rare 
Recitals" reveals that one or more of the following defects 

are present in them. 

1: Sometimes that recital is totally innovated, just as the 
recitals of Abul Fadl Muhammad bin Fa'farJChtiza'i 
that he has attributed to Imam Abu HanTfah. DaraqutnT 
and all other scholars have exposed them and declared 
that they are all innovated. 315 

313- Madhahib tafsTr-al-Islami by Goldezehar. and_Anhur Je fiery. 

Materials for die History of the text of the Quran Leiden 1936. 

P 6 Arabic translation by Dr. Abdul HalTm Najjar. 
314: Dr. Abdul HalTm Najjar has provided marginal notes in his 

translation of Madhahib TafsTr ul-lslam by_ Goldezehar. 
315: Al-Nashr fi Qira»it.'Ashr. Ibn al Jazari vl, P 16 Al-Itqan vl, 

pp78.79. * 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

2: Sometimes they have very weak precedents, just as the 
recitals of Ibn-us-Samifa' and Abus-Samll or many of 
those recitals which Abu Dawood has attributed to 
different Companions and their followers in his 
Kitab-ul-Masahif. 31 ^ 

3: Sometimes the precedents correct but in fact it is not 
the recital of the Quran, but a companion or his 
follower added one or more words during ordinary 
discourse as an explanation to some word of the 
Quran. Since the Quran in its entire substance was 
uninterrupted and thousands of Huffiz were present in 
every period of time, there was no danger of actual 
addition in the original text due to the addition of 
explanatory words. 317 Hence, such explanations were 
not considered objectionable. For example, it is 
reported that Sa'ad bin Waqqls read ft & c*\ /~i aJj . 
In this the underlined words (^ were an explanatory 
addition. Similarly, it is reported that Sayyidina 
'Uthman 4& read a verse like this. J^^M^J^j 
ttiL*\ U Je ill 0*0^0 3 ^_jt ^ 0jfy 3 Jtj^i djurfju ^ 

In this, the underlined phrase ^u>i U J* k\ Oj-.^..., j j s 
indeed exegesic addition, because if it has been part of the 
Quran in his recital, it must have been present in the 
transcriptions compiled by him. But this phrase does not 
occur in any of his seven transcriptions. 318 

There are many such examples found in Rare Recitals 
4: Sometimes it happened that certain, recitals were 

abrogated in the last days of the Prophet's M life but 

316: An Nashr: vl, pl6. 

317: An Nashr: Ibn JazarT v. 1 p 31, 32. Al-Itqih vl p 79 22 23 
Sharh al Mawajfa. Zarqani vl p 225. 

318: KanzulUnmal by Ali MuttaqT vl, p 286. ref 'AW bin HamTd wa 
Ibn Janr. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 251 

the Companion who had already memorised it 

remained unaware of this fact, hence he continued to 

recite it as he had learnt. 319 Because the other 

Companions knew that this had been abrogated they 

did not recite it nor did they consider it to be a correct 

recital any more. 

5: It appears from some of the Rare Recitals that probably 

some followers of Companions made a mistake in the 

recitation of the Quran quite unintentionally (as 

sometimes happens even with eminent Huffaz) and a 

listener reported it as he had heard. 320 

Whatever Rare Recitals of the Quran have been 

reported mostly come under one of the above five 

situations. Obviously, no question arises for accepting 

these recitals as reliable. Consequently, the Ummah never 

relied on them in any age. That is why these recitals could 

not even become popular, nothing to say of their being 

uninterrupted. Hence the inferences drawn by the 

Orientalists on the basis of Rare Recitals that (God forbid) 

differences exist in the text of the Quran, is such an 

unfounded and absurd idea that it deserves no 

consideration at all from scientific and research point of 

view. And Allah knows best. 

319: Mushkil-ul-Athar at Tahavi v4, pi 96 to 202. 
320: An-Nashr by Ibn-ul-JazarT vl. pl6.and Al-Ma'aani fin-Nazmul 
Ma'sni Muqad-da-mat iJ 'Uhim ul Quran pi 70. Al-Khanji Press. 



The Holy Quran is the last Book of Allah and He 
has put such a gripping effect in it that leaving apart 
obduracy and malice, anybody who studies it with 
sincerity and an open mind will readily admit that 
verily it is the word of Allah. It makes its impact both 
on intellect and emotions together and its truthfulness 
penetrates deep into thejieart. An attempt to prove the 
truthfulness of the Quran is like trying to prove that 
the Sun is luminous. But in the following lines we are 
presenting certain facts which, if given due attention, 
will make it easier even for a non-Muslim to arrive at 
the truthfulness of the Quran. 


First of all the readers must refresh in their minds our 
discussion on the "Need for Wahy" in chapter one. It has 
been made obvious that "Wahy (Divine Revelation)" is a 
natural requirement of mankind without which it is 
impossible for a man to lead a righteous life. It is of no 
use to talk about Wahy and Prophethood, to those who 
deny the very existence of Allah on this subject. They 
must be addressed, first, on the existence of God. But 
anyone believing in the existence of Allah cannot deny the 
"Wahy". The Being who created man and for him created 
this, universe cannot be expected to leave him helpless in a 

4 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

world so full of mischief and turbulence and send him no 
code of life to guide him. 

It is this chain of guidance that is called "Wahy" 
(Divine Revelation) and Messengership, and it did not start 
with Sayyidina Muhammad M but was perfected on him. 
Thousands of Prophets and Messengers p *j, ^ had come 
to this world before him and almost every one of them gave 
the tidings that in the last era a Messenger will be sent on 
whom the chain of Prophethood and Messengership will be 
perfected. Some of the Prophets ? xj.^u had described 
many of his signs already and some had even told his 
name. Although a good deal of interpolation has taken place 
in the scriptures of the previous Prophets yet many of the 
tidings of the advent of Sayyidina Muhammad |g are still 
found in them. 


In the Book of Deutronomy, Prophet Musa m (Moses) 
has been addressed: 

"And the Lord said unto me, they have well 
spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise 
them a Prophet from among their brethren like 
unto thee, and will put My words in his mouth, 
and he shall speak unto them all that I shall 
command him. And it shall come to pass, that 
whosoever will not hearken unto My words which 
he shall speak in My name. I will require it of 
him. But the Prophet & who shall presume to 
speak a word in My name which I have not 
commanded him to speak in the name of other 
gods, even that Prophet shall die. And if thou say 
in thine heart; How shall we know the word which 
the Lord had not spoken? When a Prophet 
speaketh in the name of the Lord if the thing 

» n approach to the Quranic sciences 


follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing 
which the Lord hath not spoken, but the Prophet i ^ 
hath spoken it presumptuously thou shall net be J 
afraid of him.. 

(Bible Deutronomy, 18:17-22)". 

During the address to Bani Isra'il it has been 
clarified that the Prophet who has been prophisised here 
is not from among them, but would appear among their 
brothers, that is, Bani Isma'il. Also the New Testament 
contains the following address of Allah to Prophet 


"Behold My servant whom I uphold, Mine elect, 
in whom My soul deligateth, I have put My spirit 
upon him, he shall bring forth judgement to the 
Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause 
his voice to be heard in the street, A bruised reed 
shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he 
not quench; he shall bring forth judgement unto 
truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he 
has set judgement in the earth, and isles shall 
wait for his law... I, the Lord have thee in the 
righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will 
keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the 
people, for a light of the Gentiles. To open the . 
blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the 
prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the 
prison house. I am the Lord: That is My name; 
and My glory will I not give to another, neither 
My praise to graver images.... Sing unto the Lord 
a new song, and His praise from the end of the 
earth ye that go down to the sea, and all that is 
therein, the isles and the inhabitants thereof. Let 
the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their 
voice, the villages that Qaydar doth inhabit; let 

% the inhabitants of the rock Sata sing, let them 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

shout from the top of the mountains. 321 Let them 
give their glory unto the Lord, and declare His 
praise into the islands. The Lord shall go forth as 
a mighty man, He shall site up jealously like a 
man of war; He shall cry. Yell, roar; He shall 
prevail against His enemies... They shall be 
turned back. They shall be greately ashamed, that 
trust in graven images, that say to the molten 
images: Ye are our gods. 

(Bible 42:1-17) 

In the above passage also it has been clarified that the 
Prophet M whose tidings are being given shall be from the 
progeny of Sayyidina Isma'il ft@ because Qaydlr (Kedar) 
is the name of his son and people of Salat (the popular 
mountains of Madinah) will rejoice on his arrival. His main 
combat will be with the idolaters and he will destory 
idolatry within his sphere of influence. He will also face 
wars against several nations and ultimately he will triumph 
over and establish justice among them. 

In the Old Testament there are many more similar 
tidings and it was on account of them that upto the arrival 
of Sayyidina Isa (Jesus) m it was popularly known to the 
peopel that apart from him another great Prophet will be 

321 : Every word of this tidings points to the Prophet Muhammad M 
I hav e explained in the marginal note, to Bible-se- Quran tak v3 
P281 Let it suffice to say here that Qaydir is the name of the 

uLtl^TTu- l T' n , m according to the Bib,e itself 

A«h" ■ ? J desce » de » ts inhabited the wilderness of 
Arabia as is clear from the Bible (Sha'yl 21: 13-17) Thus bv 
naming Qaydar this text gives the tiding of a Prophet' from the 
descendents of IsmaTl flfc who wil, be sent to the Arabs This 
text also calls upon the people of Sala' to sing. Sala* is the 
famous mountain of Madinah and Thaniyat al-wada'is situated 
here. The children of Madinah had stood over it and sang (*ifc 
M* ^ the full moom has risen towards us) and welcomed him 
when the Prophet %& had come here 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 257 

Doming in this world. Thus, it is mentioned in the Bible of 
Yuhanna that when Sayyidina Yahya (John) 8Ep came the 
people asked him whether he was the Prophet whose tidings 
had been given by the earlier Prophets. He denied it. The 
Bible of Yuhanna has described it thus: 

"And the witness of Yuhanna is: when the Jews sent 
to him sooth-sayers from Jerusalem to ask him who 
he was? Then he affirmed and he did not deny. But 
he affirmed that he was not Messiah. Then they 
asked him: Who then are you? Are you Eiliah? He 
said. No, I am not... Are you "That Prophet"? He 

Said: No, , . (Bible of Ytuhann 1 : 19-26) 

It is evident from this that even during the days of 
Sayyidina Yahya (John) 85S8 people were waiting for a . 
Prophet other than Sayyidina Tsa $$, and that Prophet was 
so popularly known to them that people thought it 
unnecessary to call him by his name and only the phrase 
"That Prophet" was sufficient. 

And then Sayyidina Isa (Jesus) }£S@I came and he also 
gave glad tidings of the advent of Sayyidina Muhammad z$| 
by name. In the Bible Yuhanna he has been reported to 
have said, 

"I speak the truth to you that my departure is 
useful for you, because if I do not depart then he 
the pirclotus* 22 will not come to you, but if I go, I 
will send him to you; and he will then blame the 
world in respect of sins and truthfulness and 

justice." (Yuhanna 16:7) 

Keeping the above prophesies in mind just imagine the 
times when Sayyidina Muljammad *H came to this world. It 

322: In the Greek editions of the Bible this word is pirclotus which 
means Muhammad. We have reproduced here only a few tidings 
but a detailed discourse may be found in Bible se Quran Tak v3, 
(chapter 6). Matabah Darul 'ulum. 

258 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

was the time when the world had been without a Prophet 
since several centuries. The teachings of the previous 
Prophets were fading away. Interpolations and alterations in 
the Scriptures had distorted the earlier doctrines. 
Polytheism had become almost an epidemic all over the 
world. Oppression and barbarism was the order of the day. 
Those who had the knowledge of previous Divine 
Scriptures were anxiously waiting for the coming of the last 
Prophet. It was in such an environment that Sayyidina 
Muhammad »|J£ was born in Makkah. He lived in that 
township for forty years in a manner that every living soul 
testified to his truthfulness, honesty, trustworthiness, justice 
and nobility. Makkah at that time was not a big city, but it 
was a dwelling where every person living in it was like an 
open book before the others. He spent forty years in that 
place and the people of Makkah had closely observed his 
childhood and youth and in all that period nobody could 
raise a finger on his personal character. On the contrary he 
became popularly known with the titles of "Truthful" and 
"Trustworthy". It was not that he had spent his life in 
seclusion, but was an active participant as a sagacious and 
prudent individual of the nation. He had trade relations with 
them, worked on wages settled their mutual disputes, 
travelled with them, had been living as a family man. In 
short, he had passed through all the stages of life, as it was 
in those days, and the whole nation confessed the nobility 
of his character in all those stages. 

Then, in all those forty years he was not educated in 
any school of learning, had no links with the scholars of 
the people of the Book, did not learn reading and 
writing, did not compose any poetic verses, unlike Arabs 
in general, nor had any interest in poetic congregations, 
nor ever he mixed with the company of sooth sayers, 
magicians or fortune-tellers. And all of a sudden he 

»/i approach to the Quranic sciences 259 

i arts speaking in such a superbly sublime language that 
nil the greatest and the most prominent scholars and 
poets of the day, bow to its excellence and superiority, 
• •■lis us of such scientific and knowledgeable realities 
that the philosophers of the whole world bow their heads 
licfore them, discloses such future events that could 
never be even imagined by any fortune teller or diviner 
and all these come true exactly as foretold. Such 
miracles happen from him that baffled the greatest 
sorcerers of the time. Then within a short span of twenty 
three years he brought about such an amazing revolution 
in the entire Arabian peninsula that the savage, illiterate 
and uncouth Arabs became the torch-bearers of light and 
learning and wisdom and morality throughout the world. 
Those who were cutting each other's throat were united 
like brothers. Where murder, terror were the order of 
the day, there love and peace reigned supreme. 
Oppression and barbarism were replaced with justice and 
fairplay, and the Bedouins of Arabia, who were held in 
contempt throughout the world for their ignorance 
ultimately became the heirs of great Persian and Roman 
Empires and the whole world was compelled to pay 
tribute to their justice, compassion and nobility. 

Anyone looking at these events dispassionately and 
impartially cannot but reach the conclusion that Sayyidina 
Muhammad ^g was the true Messenger of Allah. He was 
"The promised Prophet" whose tidings were being given 
since several centuries and who was awaited by the 
humanity. Hence, his claim that "The Quran is the words 
of Allah" is an absolute truth which cannot be questioned. 


Another convincing proof of truth of the Quran is its 
miraculous nature. It is a book the like of which is beyond 
human power to produce. That is why it is called the greatest 

260 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

miracle of the Holy Prophet $g. We would like to mention 
here briefly the sources of the miracle of Quran a security of 
which makes it clear that undoubtedy the Quran is the Word 
of Allah and that human intellect has no say in it. 

Before proceeding any further two things must be borne 
in mind. First the eloquence and rhetoric, and the 
penetrating effect of an oration is a quality that pertains to 
perceptive and cognitive faculty, and it is not possible to 
describe its full reality and actual nature in words. We can 
only fix the rules of eloquence and rhetoric through 
elaborate search, investigation and reasoning, but these 
principles and rules are not the decisive factors. The merits 
and demerits of a composition are ultimately decided by 
instincitve and intuitive abilities. Just as there can be no 
comprehensive and meaningful description of a beautiful 
face, or just as the grace and relicacy of a colourful flower 
cannot be confined within words, or just as the fragrance of 
musk cannot be imparted through words, or just as the 
flavour and taste of a delicious fruit cannot be described in 
words, similarly it is just not possible to describe in full 
measure the eloquence and rhetoric of a composition. But 
listening to it, a cultivated person will atonce realise its 
beauty and elegance. 

Secondly, in the matter of eloquence and rhetoric of 
a language the taste and cognition of only those people 
would be reliable whose mother tongue it happens to be. 
But no other person, howsoever proficient in a foreign 
language, can equal in appreciating its finer qualities the 
man whose mother tongue it is. 

Now, imagine the people of Arabia in the Days of 
Ignorance when oratory happened to be the most dominant 
passion in the society. Each and every person in the society 
had a natural taste for literature and poetry. 

Eloquence and rhetoric were their life blood. The 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 261 

liveliness that marked their gatherings, the gaity of their fairs 
and the virtues on which they boasted themselves so much all 
found their expression through poetry and literature. They 
were so proud indeed of their literary accomplishments that 
they contemptuously dubbed all the other peoples of the 
world as " 'Ajam" The Dumb. It was in this atmosphere that 
there appeared on the score an unlettered person Muhammad 
!|jg. He presented before them an oration, and declared it to 
be the Word of Allah, because, 

If mankind and the Jinn were to gather together to 

produce the like of this Quran, they could never produce 

the like thereof even if they backed up one another. 

(Al-Isra, 17:88) 

Such a proclamation was no ordinary thing. It came 
from a person who had never learned anything from the 
renowned poets and scholars of the time, had never recited 
even a single piece of poetry in their poetic congregations, 
had never attended the company of soothsayers. And far 
from composing any poetry himself, he did not even 
remember the verses of other poets. Such, indeed, was the 
man whom these masters in the art of eloquence used to 
call the founder of a new religion. If this claim were to be 
established as the truth, the entire structure of their 
ancestral faith would crumble and the age - old customs and 
traditions would be doomed for ever. This proclamation 
was therefore the greatest challenge to their literary 
prowess, as also a fatal blow to their creed and beliefs. 
This was also a call for combat against their national 
honour and personal pride that the haughty Arabs could 
never let go unchallenged. A hush fell over the whole 
galaxy of these stirring orators and fiery poets. Not a soul 

262 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

stepped Jbrward to accept this challenge. After sometimes 
the Quran proclaimed once again: 

* * 

And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have 
revealed to our servant (Muhammad) then bring a surah 
like thereof, and call your helpers besides Allah, if you 
are truthful. But if you do it not - and you can never 
do it - then fear the Fire whose fuel is mankind and 
stones. It is kept prepared for the unbelievers. 

(Al-Baqarah, 2:23-24) 

Their silence remained unbroken as before. None of 
them was able to compose even a few sentences to match 
the Quranic verses. Just think that they were a people who 
according to 'Allamah Jurjani, 323 could never resist 
ridiculing the idea in their poetry if they heard that there 
was someone at the other end of the globe who prided 
himself on his eloquence and rhetorical speech. It is 
unthinkable that they could keep quiet even after such 
repeated challenges and dare not come forward. There can 
be no other explanation of this except that these stalwarts of 
eloquence and rhetoric were helpless in meeting the 
challenge of the Quran. They had left no stone unturned for 
persecuting the Prophet ft They tortured him, called him 
insane, sorcerer, poet and sooth-sayer, but failed utterly in 
composing even a few sentences like the Quranic verses. 

323: Ar-Risalah Ash Shaft yah: Abdul Qahlr al-Jurjahi. Raslil fi 
'Aijaz ul-QuranDar ul-Ma'arif p!09, Egypt. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 263 

It was not only that these fiery and powerful poets and 
orators were incapable of holding out against the Quran but 
many of them frankly acknowledged its amazing and 
magical effect. Imam Hakim and Bayhaqi have quoted the 
following words of WalTd bin Mughirah about the Quran: 

ajIj ... sy^Aki <uip o\j sy^u- J^i» ^JUi -d^u 01 -OLJij 

By God! The words which he speaks are extremely 
sweet and elegant. This speech shall overwhelm and 
cannot be suppressed. 324 

This WalTd bin MughTrah was the nephew of Abu Jahl. 
When Abu Jahl came to know that his nephew was getting 
impressed with these words he went to him to admonish 
him. Walid retorted "By God! None of you knows the 
beauty or ugliness of a poetry better than I do. By God! 
what Muhammad says has nothing to do with poetry. 325 

Concerning this same person Ibn 'Abbas <4#e> says that 
after the advent of the Holy Prophet sH, when time of Hajj 
came close WalTd bin MughTrah gathered all the Quraysh 
together and said to them that the months of Hajj were 
approaching and different tribes from all over Arabia would 
come, hence they should, decide their strategy about 
Muhammad so that no differences cropped up. The Quraysh 
proposed that they would say that Muhammad was a 
sooth-sayer. WalTd said, "By God! His words are not the 
words of sooth-sayers". The Quraysh then said that they 
would say he was insane. WalTd said, "There is not even a 
trace of insanity in him. "Quraysh then said that they would 

324: Al-Khasa'is-al-Kubra by Suyuti vl.l. pi 13 & Al-Itqan v2, 

325: Hakim and Bayhaqi from Ibn "Abbas (Al-Khasais al-Kubra vl, 

P 13.) 

264 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

call him a poet. WalTd replied, "I am fully conversant with 
all the various forms of poetry. What he says is definitely 
not poetry." The Quraysh then said, "We would say he is 
sorcerer". Initially, WalTd rejected this idea as well, but 
finally agreed to it, pleading that his words do have magical 
powers and they cause separation between father and son, 
and between one brother and another. 326 

Similarly, there was 'Utbah bin RabT'ah, a prominent 
leader of Quraysh who went to Muhammad St to negotiate 
a treaty with him. Muhammad M recited the opening 
verses of Surah Ha Mlm Sajdah before him. He heard them 
with rapt attention until the Prophet ^ went into 
prostration on the verse of prostration when he got up and 
in a state of bewilderment went home. People came to him 
to know the result of his talk with Muhammad. He said, 
"By God! Muhammad has recited such words before me 
that the like of which I have never heard before. I did not 
know what to say." 327 

There are many other instances preserved in the 
pages of history which denote that great and renowned 
scholars and poets not only failed to accept the challenge 
of the Quran but were actually forced to acknowledge 
the deep penetrating effect of the Quran through their 
words or actions. 

Some non-Muslim writers have expressed the idea that 
may be someone had responded to the challenge and 
composed something on the pattern of Quranic verses but 
possibly they did not reach us. Abu Sulaiman Khattabi 
(died 388 AH) who was the leading scholar in lexicon 
and literature, apart from being a renowned scholar in 

326: BayhaqT^and Ibn Ishaq (Al.Khasais al Kiibravi, pi 13). 

327: Bay-haqT and Ibn Ishaq from Muhammad bin Ka'b (Al-Khasais al 

Kubra, vl, pi 15) and Abu YaMa from Jlbir (Jam'a Al-Fawiid 

(v2, p26) 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 265 

lladith commenting on this view has made a cogent 
observation in the following words. 

"This is an absolutely false conception because it 
has been always customary with the high and the 
low alike to maintain a record of important 
events for the benefit of posterity, specially of 
the events on which the attention of the people is 
particularly focussed. This matter (tb.e challenge 
of the Quran) had attained the widest possible 
publicity at that time, and it is impossible thatjf 
anything was brought forth against the Quran 
would not have reached us. But if this is 
considered possible then it may be possible, too, 
that there may have been another or several other 
Prophets advented at that time and divine 
Scriptures may have been sent to them and these 
events did not reach us. When this^ is 
inconceivable, no less so is the idea that Quran's 
challenge was met." 328 

However, some buffoons did compose a few ridiculous 
things which are still preserved in the pages of history and 
the Arabs have laughed at them. For example, someone 
composed the following sentences on the style of Surah 
"Al-Qari'ah" and Surah "Al-fil": 

Somebody else had composed the following phrases: 

328: Thalath Rasa'il fi Yjazx 1 Quran p5, Darul-Ma'arif. Egypt. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Musaylimah Kazzlb had claimed the following 
sentences as "Wahy" revealed to him: 329 

Then again, long after the revelation of the Qurln a 
renowned Arabic man of letters and essayist and translator 
of Kaliiah wo D imnah 'Abdullah bin Muqaffi (D 142 AH) 
intended to write a rejoinder to the Qurln but just then he 
heard a child reciting the verse... 

and at once he declared "I testify that it is impossible to 
echo these words and verily it is not a human 
composition. •'" 


It will now be proper to describe those important 
attributes on account of which the words of the Qurln are 
regarded as miraculous. Obviously it is beyond human 
power to encompass them all. However, within the scope of 
limited msight of man these can be divided into four 
headings. (1) Miracle of words (2) Miracle of syntax (3) 
Miracle of style, and (4) Miracle of system. 


No poet or scholar of any language, no matter how 
consummate in his art, can claim that he has never used any 
unpolished word in his writings because sometime one is 
compelled to use such words in order to express one's 
thoughts^ But, it is a miracle of the Quran that from the 
first to the last word (from Su rah Fatihah to An-Nas) there 

329 '' p7o*5/'' J?Z il_QUr?n ' Kha|tJbr - Tha,?sa Ras **» «MM5i 
330: I'jaz ul-Qurlh, BlqiWani, v. 1. p .50. Al-liqah. 

. tw approach to the Quranic sciences 267 

is not a single word that is inelegant. Not only that but the 
placing of every word is such that replacing it with another 
word with the same eloquence and rhetoric effect is 
impossible. Arabic is an extremely vast language and one of 
the richest languages of the world in relation to its stock of 
words. Hence it contains numerous words with minor 
differences to express one meaning. Out of this treasure of 
words the Quran uses only that word which is the most 
suitable in respect of its context, expression of meaning and 
the flow of style. This thing can be clarified by a few 

1: In the pre-prophetic era several words were in use 
to express the meaning of Death (Maut) e.g. 

S No Arabic English 

1 oj* Death 

2 .1}*>U • 

3 tui 


5 uj*i 

6 ^U-»- 

7 J^ Oy* 

8 fL- 

9 4-i>l3 

10 4^3 ^j» 

11 . iv 

12 J\ *> 

13 jUi* 

14 V 3^r 

15 !• r~» 

331; Ibn S-idah Andlusi has enumerated all these words and given 
examples from the poetry of the Arabs (Al-Mukhassas, Ibn 
S-idah v6, pi 15) 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 





f Us* 

But most of these words reflected the ancient faith of 
Arabs that due to death the components of a man were 
destroyed for ever, with no possibility of a resurrection. 
This was because they did not believe in Resurrection, 
Hereafter and Reckoning. That is why all the words which 
they_used for "Death" had a reflection of this view. If the 
Quran had remained contented with erroneous impression 
of its conformity with these ancient interpretation of the 
Arabs, an erroneous impression of its conformity with 
these false notions about^Death might have been created. 
Hence wherever the Quran describes the reality of Death, 
it uses a new word in preference to the two dozen words 
named above and, thus, it has given to the Arabic 
language such a beautiful, short, concise and eloquent 
word that clearly depicts the reality of Death. The word is 
'J'y (TawaffT) the literal meaning of which is "to receive 
something wholly." The word also clarifies that Death 
does not mean eternal extinction but it is returning of the 
soul to Allah, and thus whenever He would like He can 
reassemble all the components together and return the soul 
to it. This word was never used for Death before it 
occurred in the Quran. And thus it is that while using 
other words for 'death' in "Al Mukhassas" , Ibn Sldah 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 269 

has quoted examples from couplets of Arab poets but for 
"TawaffT" he has quoted only the Quran. 332 /'O 

2: In every language there are words which, in their 
phonetic effect, are not regarded as eloquent and 
welcome, but because other words do not exist to express 
their meanings people are forced to use them. But on such 
occasions the Quran has used such elegant styles that they 
create feelings of ecstasy in any person with a literary 
taste. For example, all the various words that are used for 
baked bricks for building construction are considered to 
be crude, degraded and offensive to good taste viz ^r' 
(Ajurrun) luy (Qarmadun) and IS J* (Toob). Now, it was 
intended to say in the Quran that Fir'awn (Pharoah) 
ordered his minister Haman to bake the bricks for 
constructing a lofty palace for him. In order to describe it 
the use of the word brick was unavoidable, but the Quran 
has described it in such a miraculous manner that it 
conveyed the meaning splendidly without suffering the 
burden of the unwanted words. It says: 

* "* * * 9 9*' 

And Fir'aun said, "O chiefs! I know not that you have 

any god other than me. so kindle for me. O Haman, a 

fire upon the clay, and make for me a lofty tower." 333 

(Al-Qasas, 28:38) 

3: There are some words in Arabic that are soft and 
eloquent in their singular form but their plurals are 
regarded unchaste. For instance, the word jp$ (Earth) is a 
delightful word. It has two plural forms in use Oj->j» and 
^j\ and both of them are regarded as inelegant and their 

332: Al-Bayah li Mushkilat LI Quran, Shaikh. Bnnori p56. 
333: Ref Al-Mjithl As-Sa'ir, Ibn AthTr p71. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

use affects the smoothness and flow of the language. But 
where the use of plural is unavoidable the scholars of 
Arabta were compelled to use these words. Contrary to 
his, the Quran has used a. many places the word ou^ 
( as plural and in conjunction with it the word j. d 
as smgular and not used its plural anywhere. However at 
one place "Seven earths" were to be mentioned and plural 
form had to be used. But the Quran avoided it in a 
mtraculous manner and yet adopted a style that the sense 
has been conveyed thoroughly, and not only that no 
burden was put on the language but its beauty had only 
increased. It says: y 

'c^h ooiJ> 'ofj orjtii g, jit ^oji jit 

Allah is He who created seven heavens, and of d,e earth 
their like. (Al-Tal?q. 65:12) 

Just see! The plural of .u- (heaven) has been used here 
but the plural of j.j (earth) has been beautifully avoided 
and if one ponders over the mysteries and subtleness in it a 
stream of miraculous rhetoric could be seen flowing with 
grandeur and elegance. 

4^ Some unbelievers have objected to some words of 
he Quran as being harsh, for example the word *^ but 
hey forget that although some words may be harsh in 

skill that they cannot be replaced with other word For 

example, one of the neck veins is called t m (akhda). Two 
Arab po e , s have used „ in [hejr poe(ry ^ ^ , & ^ ^^ 

of defference in the use of both of them. One poet Abu 
Tammam has said: F 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 271 

jUii jJl^j^-1 tf> {j* j** ^ 


In this verse this word appears to be very harsh and 
heavy. But another poet 'Abdullah bin Sammah of Hamasah 
has used it thus. 

Here the same word has been used with such a flow and 
elegance that it does not hurt one's aesthetic sense in the 
least. Rather, on the whole it fits in most beautifully in the 
tender texture of the couplet. 

In the Quran the word isjs* (DTza) has also been used 
with such matchless beauty that no other word, no matter 
how elegant it may be, can replace it. 

What, are for you the males and for Him the females? 
This indeed is an unjust division. (An-Najm, 53:21-22) 

If we look at the words by themselves, the Arabic U-J 
tjbe or JUJifc a^— i seem more appropriate than \sj~& . But the 
style in which it is used in the Quran *£j~* is apt and (5yV) 
or (Wlfc) would mar the flow of the language. 334 

334: All these four examples are from Yatimah Al Bayan by Maulana 
Muhammad Yusuf BanorT. This book is a prelude to Mushkilat ul 
Quran by 'All amah Anwar Shah Kashmiri. He has cited the 
examples from Mushkilat ul Quran and al-Mithl us Sa'ir fi Adab 
al K^tib, yva Shair by Allama Ibn AthTr. 

m An approach to the Quranic sciences 


Having discussed the miracle of words let us consider 
the structure of sentences, their harmony and placement. 
Here also we find the miracle of the Quran at its supreme 
perfection. There is such a grandeur, lucidity and sweetness 
in the arrangement of its sentences that nothing equal to it 
can be produced. Here, only one example may suffice. 
Extracting blood money from a murderer was regarded as a 
virtuous act among the people of Arabia, and several 
proverbial phrases were popular to express its advantages, 
^^i s.Lp-\ jsaJt (killing is collective life), JsiU^i j-at (killing 
checks killing). These phrases were so. popular that 
they were commonly used and were regarded as eloquent. 
The Quran has also expressed the same sense but with what 
stunning effect! It says, 

And in (the law of) equitable retribution there is life for 
you. (Al-Baqarah, 2:179) 

From whatever angle you look at the sweep, brevity 
lucidity, grandeur and import of this sentences. It appears 
to be a masterpiece of eloquence, and all the other afore 
mentioned sentences appear to be clumsy before it. 


The most brilliant exposition of miracle of Quran is 
noticeable in its style and this can be perceived by anyone. 
The following are its striking miraculous attributes: 

In spite of the fact that the prose of Quran does not 
follow the rules and regulations of poetry, it is infinitely, 
more rythmic and appealing than any poetry. This is 
explained by the fact that a man's aesthetic sense does not 
get the same pleasure from prose that it gets through 

Aii approach ro the Quranic sciences 273 

poetry. Looking tor its reason one finds that the secret lies 
in the arrangement of words that creates a particular sonic 
rhythm. In the ancient Arabic, Persian and Urdu poetry this 
is produced by the prefixed meters ot the lines and verses. 
One's aesthetic taste gets a thrill when one hears the words 
of the same measure again and again, and when rhyming 
words are added to this measure the thrill is still more 
magnified. But the rules of meter and rhymes are not the 
same in every region and language. The people of every 
language fix different rules according to their own taste and 
temperament. The Arabs, for example have kept their 
poetry confined to such moulds of meter and rhymes that 
were designed by Khalil bin Ahmad and others. In the 
Persian poetry the scope of measures was further expanded 
and new meters were adopted but more strict conditions 
were imposed in the bounds of rhyming words and their 
placements. Thus, in Arabic poetry jjJ (Qaboor) and 
(Kabir) are considered to be rhyming with each other. If 
'Qaboor' in one couplet is followed by "Kabir" in the next it 
is not considered to be a flaw. But this is not allowed in 
Persian poetry. Similarly, if half the phrase occurs in one 
line and the other half in the following line of a verse it is 
not considered improper in Arabic poetry but it is highly so 
in Persian poetry; in fact such a verse is not regarded as a 
verse at all. Also, there occur so many omissions in Arabic 
poetry that sometimes the actual meter becomes quite 
disrorted, but this does not occur in Persian poetry. 
Similarly, there is no concept of Jfefj (RadTf) * in Arabic 
poetry but a J> (Ghazal) 336 is regarded as insipid without 

335: RadTf is the word or words that occur as the end-phrase of a 

verse and is repeated as such in every verse. 
336: Ghazal: Special kind of poem whose every verse is separate in 

subject matter but has the same meter, rigidly rhymed and ends 

on RadTf. 

274 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

RadTf in Persian poetry. Also, in the original Arabic poetry 
many kinds of the poem did not exist that are quite 
common in Persian poetry. 

Despite such differences in Arabic and Persian 
poetry there exist a great deal of unanimity in the 
meters. But ancient Hindi poetry is still different. Here 
the weighting of words is done with the number of 
alphabets each word contains. If two words have the 
same number of alphabets they are considered in balance 
even if their motions and diacritical sounds may be 
different. Sometimes one finds a wide divergence in the 
meters or rhymes in Hindi couplets and even in the 
number of alphabets yet they are recited and sung with 
great gusto and the effect they produce is undeniable. 

In this context the trend of English poetry is perhaps 
more liberal than all the others. In it line may have 
variable proportions in its metric length and there may be 
no consideration of rhyming, but a specific rhythm is 
produced by the syllabic pronunciation of words, and it is 
this rhythm that imparts pleasure to the people of that 

It becomes clear from this discussion that there is no 
universal standard for the fixed rules of meters and rhymes 
for producing pleasure and symphony in the poetry. That is 
why such rules keep on changing in different languages and 
regions. But there is one thing which is common among all 
the languages and nations, and that is a "Balanced Sonic 
Rhythm", which means to arrange the words in a manner 
that their pronunciation and audibility are delightful to a 
man's aesthetic perceptions. But since man is powerless to 
liberate this common value from the established moulds of 
meters and rhymes, he feels bound to adhere to the rules 
and regulations framed within his own setting whenever he 
wants to create the pleasures of poetry. The miracle of 

\ ii approach to the Quranic sciences 275 

Quran is that it did not chose any of the rules of poetry 
prevalent in different regions of the world, but only adopted 
the common value of the "Balanced Sonic rhythm" which is 
(he ultimate aim of all these rules and regulations. That is 
why the Quran, despite being a prose composition, carries 
an inherent grandeur and elegance of poetry, and not only 
the Arabs but people all over the world experience an 
extraordinary thrill and impact when they hear it. 

This explains very well why some of the idolaters of 
Arabia had termed the Quran a poetry? Evidently, the 
popular definition of poetry does not apply in the case of 
the Quran, and the idolaters of Arabia, despite all their 
faults did have enough sense to distinguish between 
prose and poetry. They were not unaware that for a 
poetic composition meters and rhymes were essential and 
that the Quran was independent of them. Yet they called 
it poetry because they felt greater pleasure and effect 
than poetry in its style and symphony; and they knew 
that even without conforming to the restrictions of 
meters and rhymes it carries in full measure the aesthetic 
beauty to meet the demands of ecstatic feelings and 
poetic taste that cannot be obtained even with a rigid 
conformity to meters and rhymes. 

What new principles have been adopted by the Quran 
to create the effect of this permanent sonic rhythm? It is 
beyond human power to describe it because words and 
phrases cannot adequately translate the true effect that 
pervades the style of the Qurari. However, anybody 
having a literary taste and aesthetic perceptions can 
verify for himself the truth of our statement while 
reciting the Quran. 337 

337: This discussion is adopted from al-Fauzul KabTr by Shah 
Waliullah explanatory note. Details may be seen there in section 
2 chapter3. 

276 *« approach to the Quranic sciences 

2: The scholars of the science of rhetoric have laid 
down three categories of "style": ( 1 ) Oratorical (2) Literary 
and (3) Scientific. All of them have their own separate 
spheres, distinct qualities and different occasions, and it is 
not possible to combine all the three of them in one single 
piece of writing. When making a speech you have 
particular style; when writing an academic treatise, you 
adopt a different style, and when writing litereary prose 
your^style differs from both of them. But the miracle of the 
Quran is that it combines all the three styles together. In it 
the force of oratory the elegance of literature and the 
soberity of an academic piece all go together and none of 
them loses its force and quality. 

3: All at the same time the Quran's addresses happen 
to be rustic, villagers, educated persons, learned scholars 
and experts in sciences and its style impresses all of them 
equally. On one side, an illiterate person finds simple 
realities in it and he feels that the Qurin has been revealed 
exclusively for his own benefit, while on the other side, 
learned scholars and researchers discover such scientific 
truths when they study it closely, that they feel that this 
book is full of such deeper knowledge about the sciences 
and the arts that a man of ordinary understanding just 
cannot grasp them. 

For a man of average mind the style of Quranic 
reasoning is very simple and mostly based on arguments 
drawn from direct observation. It proves the complex 
philosophical concepts of Unity of Allah, Prophethood and 
Messengership, the Hereafter, Creation of life and 
Existence of God with arguments based on the direct 
observation of man; and drawing attention to Natural 
phenomena it has described such realities as may be easily 
understood by a man of average intellect. But if you go 
deeper into the same simple realities you will also find 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 277 

purely intellectual and logical arguments which satisfy also 
those fond of philosophical hair-splitting about everything. 
Quite in passing it has also resolved the complex problems 
of philosophy and science the solution of which has always 
eluded eminent and renowned philosophers. 

4: If the same thing is repeated over and over again 
the listeners get fed up after a certain stage, no matter 
how distinguished may he the place held by the speaker in 
literature. The force oi speech is lost and its impact is 
very much reduced. But with Quran it is different. In it 
the same thing has sometimes been repeated scores of 
times and the same event has been described several times 
yet everytime one gets out of it a new pleasure, a new 
feeling and a new impact. 

5: Elegance in a speech and its appealing sweetness are 
two contradictory qualities. Different style has to be 
adopted for each of them. It is beyond human power to 
combine both of them in one single piece. It is a miracle of 
Quranic style alone that both these qualities are to be found 
blended together in most perfect synthesis. 

6: The Quran has treated with the height of eloquence 
those topics to which human mind could not give literary 
beauty whatever he may do to achieve it. For example, 
the "Law of Inheritance" is such a dry and intractable 
subject that even all the scholars and poets of the world 
cannot create any literary beauty while dealing with it, but 
then just go through the verses of Surah An-Nisa 
beginning with £dt ^^ J 1 ^ ^ p£sr*jM and you cannot help 
exclaiming that this is an extraordinary composition. All 
these verses have described "The Law of Inheritance" but 
in such a beautiful and elegant manner that deeply moves 
one's aesthetic sense. 

7: Every poet and scholar has his own particular field 
and any departure from it makes his work colourless. In 

27# An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Arabic Imra-ul-Qays is the patriarch of Ghazal, Nabighah 
is famous for portraying fear and horror, A' ash a for 
beauty of aspiration and attributes and Zuhair for hope 
and desire. The same is the case with every language, but 
the Quran has dealt with so many diverse subjects that it 
is very difficult to encompass them all. But whether there 
be incentive or admonition, promise or reprimand, advice 
and preaching or stories and examples, matters of faith or 
injunctions, everywhere it shows the highest standard of 
eloquence and beauty. 

8: Brevity is the exclusive attribute of Quranic style 
and its miraculous excellence in this respect is quite 
marked. Since the Quran has been sent as a guide for all 
times to come, till the Last Day. it deals, in a pithy 
manner, with such a vast number of topics that one can get 
guidance from it in every age. Despite the passage of 
fourteen hundred years its subjects have not become out 
dated. Human life has suffered great many vicissitudes 
many a great revolution have taken place, but the Glorious 
Quran has remained eternally fresh and it shall remain. -It is 
not a book of history yet it is the most authentic source of 
history: it is not a book of law and politics yet in short 
sentence it has described such principles of starecraft and 
global conquest that will guide mankind for all times to 
come; it is not a book of science and philosophy but it has 
unravelled many mysteries of philosophy and science: it is 
not a book of economics and sociology yet it has given such 
concise guidelines in both these subjects that it is only now 
that all the sciences and arts of the world are approaching 
nearer to it after faltering for centuries. 


A miracle of the Quran lies in the mutual link and 
coordination, and arrangement and system of its verses. If 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 279 

you recite the Quran in a cursory manner it would 
apparently seem that every verse deals with an 
independent topic and there is no link among them. That 
is why the commentators of the Quran stand divided into 
two groups. One group holds the view that the Quran was 
revealed piecemeal over a period of twenty-three years 
therefore there is no need to look for any inter-connecting 
link between its verses and that each verse deals with an 
exclusive subject. Contrary to this, the other group 
maintains that as a book the Quran is an organic whole 
and it is interlinked from the beginning to the end, and it 
must be studied from this angle. This second group 
contends that inconsistency in a book is a sign of its 
defect and the word of Allah is most certainly free from 
it. In response to this the first group argues that just as 
there is no order and arrangement in natural sceneries, but 
actually their beauty lies in their dissimilarity that 
somewhere there are meandering rivers, somewhere 
rugged mountains and somewhere valleys high and low, 
similarly the beauty and grace of the Quran lies rather in 
this fixed structure. The topic of each and every couplet 
of a ghazal is different and nobody takes it amiss likewise 
dissimilar arrangement in the Quran is no defect. But the 
fact remains that there is an exceeding graceful link 
between the various verses of the Quran that cannot be 
denied. If an orderly arrangement was not intended for the 
Quran there was no need to follow a different order for 
writing it down from its chronological order. The Quran 
might have been recorded in the same order in which it 
was revealed. A different order fixed by the Holy Prophet 
3&g is a clear proof of the fact that the Quranic verses are 
interlinked. But, of course, it is a rather delicate link and 
it needs a lot of deep thinking and insight to gel to it. 

In this way the individual verse remains intact and the 

2 HO An approach to the (/manic sciences 

generalisation of its word is not lost. 

In addition to this, the general style of speech and 
poetry among the Arabs at that time was also the same that 
the subject matter therein had a distinct place rather than 
being bound and interlinked to each other. Hence, the 
Quranic style was in conformity with the literary taste of 
that time. Thus at a cursory glance every verse would 
appear to be independent but a close look will reveal that 
the book is one continuous and interlinked whole. 

The style adopted by the Quran in its arrangement and 
system is, therefore, its most subtle miracle, and a 
reproduction the like of it is beyond human power. Many 
scholars have written exclusive books to explain the system 
of Quranic arrangement and some commentators have made 
special references to it in their writings. Imam Razi\s TafsTr 
KabTr is probably the most commendable work in this 
connection. He had a divine gift for elaborating the system of 
the Quran. After him QadT Abus Sa'TTd has also made 
special efforts to describe the attributes of the Quranic 
system. Subsequent commentators have mostly been the 
gleaners from the above two. 

A glimpse of the System of the Quran can be seen in 
the following example. In Surah Al-Ijijr it is stated 

(O Prophet!) Inform My servants that I ;im the 
Forgiving, the Merciful, and that My chastisement is the 
painful chastisement. 

And Inform lhem of the guests of Ibrahim. (Al-llijr: 15:51) 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 2SI 

Alter this, the well known event of the angels coming 
to Sayyidina Ibrahim H& has been described. Apparently 
there seems to be no connection between the two things. 
But a closer attention makes it clear that the incident of 
Sayyidina Ibrahim & is in fact supporting the first 
sentence, because the angels who came to him did two 
things. First, they gave the glad tidings of a virtuous son, 
Ishaq to Sayyidina Ibrahim, and secondly the same angels 
had brought destruction of the dwelling town of Sayyidina 
Lut $s§t. The first one was a manifestation of J»» jj»3' U1 
(1 am the Forgiving, the Meriful). and the second was the 
manifestation of $fo -»-^ > 'j** <My chastisement is a 
painful chastisement). Thus the two sentences are closely 
connected but when looked at separately they also hold an 
independent place of their own. 338 


Whenever Allah sends a Messenger and reveals His 
words to him. He lets him know some of the future events 
so that he may prove the words as from Allah. Although 
predictions are also made by astrologers, they are never 
certain, and even the greatest astrologer could never claim 
that all his predictions come true and no mistake is ever 
made. Morever. it has been the tradition with Allah that the 
prophesies made by a false pretender of Prophethood are 
never allowed and not even the bitterest enemies of Islam 
can deny them. In these pages it is not possible to describe 
all of them in detail, but a few important events are being 
given as examples. 

338: For details see "Bible se Quran lak" by Kiranwi p357. v2. We 
have dealt with diis subject briefly. Further reading: Bible se 
Quran tak"' Maulaiia Rahnini ullah Kiranwi cditedjw the author 
of this book v2. p357. Also [ja/.-el-Quian by "Allamali ShabbTr 
Ahmad Uthmani. 

282 A" approach to the Quranic sciences 


While the Prophet H was still in Makkah after 
having been commissioned to Prophethood and was 
being subjected to all sorts of persecutions by the 
idolaters of Makkah exactly at the same time the two 
great powers of Rome and Persia were repeatedly beaten 
and vanquished, and suffering a horrible loss in men and 
material, the Roman government was so utterly 
exhausted that, far from being in a position to launch a 
counter-attack, it could not even take a firm stand 
anywhere. This situation was a matter of jubilation for 
the pagans of Arabia, as they identified Iranians, for 
their being fire-worshippers with themselves and the 
Romans, as the people of the Book, with Muslims. The 
dominance of Iranians, in their eyes, presaged their own 
victory and defeat of Muslims. In this war the Persian 
armies were constantly winning against the Romans who 
were losing on all fronts and the Persian armies, 
subjecting important cities of Syria to fire and 
destruction, were advancing ahead at a terrific speed. 

It was under these circumstances 'that these initial verses 
of Surah ar Rum revealed: 

r?& ^ 'J' r^ >$ JJ 'J o fy> ^ o p 

Alii-Lam. Mini. The Romans have been defeated, in the 
land close by and after (this) defeat of theirs, they will 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 283 


soon be victorious within a few years. To Allah belongs 
the command before and after and on that day the 
Believers will rejoice in Allah's help. He helps whom 
He will, and He is the Mighty the Merciful, this is 
Allah's promise. Allah tails not in His promise but most 
of mankind know not. (Ar-Ruin. 30:1-6) 

For those who were aware of the military situation 
concerning the Romans and Persians this prediction was 
absolutely incredible. Hence a chieftain of the Quraysh 
Ubbay bin Khalaf had a bet with Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4fe 
that he would give him ten camels if the Romans emerged 
victorious within three years, otherwise Abu Bakr ^ 
would give him an equal number of camels. Betting at that 
time was not yet prohibited so Sayyidina Abu Bakr 4jk> 
agreed. When Sayyidina Abu Bakr ^b told the Prophet M 
of this bet he said that the Quran had used the word && 
j~~> (few years) and in Arabic the word £Ja* applies to a 
number between three and nine, hence he should extend the 
time limit to nine years and increase the number of camels. 
Consequently, Abu Bakr *§e> had the bet increased to nine 
years for a hundred camels instead of ten even though there 
were no apparent signs of the fulfilment of this predictison. 
In fact, even that the Persians kept marching forwards, until 
they reached the city walls of Roman capital, 
Constantionople. The renowned historian Edward Gibbon 
has commented on this prediction thus: 

When this prophesy was made no prediction could 
be more unbelievable because the initial twelve 
years of Heraclius were evidently declaring an end 
to the Roman Empire. (Fall of Roman Empire). 

(V.5 p. 73-74) 

But exactly seven years after his first defeat the Roman 
Emperor sallied forth from the capital and inflicted crushing 

284 All approach to the Quranic sciences 

defeats on Persians at several places, and after that the 
Roman armies were victorious everywhere. 

Meanwhile a large number of Muslims had migrated to 
Madinah and their wars with the idolaters of Makkah had 
already begun, and the day on which 313 ill equipped 
Muslims were beating back at the battlefield of Badr one 
thousand heavily armed warriors of Makkans. came the 
news that the Romans had defeated the Persians, and it was 
then realised that the Quranic verse: 

On that day the Believers will rejoice in Allah's help 

was meant to denote the twin happiness of the Roman 
victory as well as their own victory at Badr. 


When the Prophet M left Makkah for migration as a 
result of the persecutions of idolaters, and after three days 
of stay at the cave of Thaur came across the road to 
Makkah near Jahfah while on his way to Madinah quite 
naturally he had nostalgic feelings about his birth place and 
felt aggrieved at parting with it for ever. On this occasion 
the following verse was revealed to him. 

iUi JJ] rftfj j'i^i jji jyj Jjjj 5, 

Surely He who has ordained the Quran for you (O 
Prophet), will bring you back.339 (Al-Q;.sas. 28:85) 

At that time he had left Makkah in a state of privation and 
in view of this apparently there was no chance of this prophecy 
being fulfilled. But only within a few years he entered the city 
of Makkah as a conqueror and the prophecy was fulfilled. 

339: Jama' ul Fawaid v3. pi 07 Safeih Bukhan. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 285 


During the times of the Prophet $§ the Jews used to say 
that success and prosperity in the Hereafter was destined 
for the Jews alone and that they would certainly go to the 
Paradise. The Quran has replied: 

^ .£'■&+# + '*■* • , , + ** «■ 

ijbi a ^-aJL. J.O _oU^ .^uS Ol ^. ^Jl I ^-J> ^LJ» 

o y^Jlkli/^ iLij ^4i '^.fis nT 

Say (O Prophet): If the ahode of the Hereafter with 
Allah is exclusively yours and not for others of 
mankind (as you assert), then long for death if you are 
truthful. And they will never long for it, hecause of 
what their own hands have forwarded. And Allah is 
Knower of the evildoers. (Al-Baqarah 2:94-95) 

This challenge and prediction was made in Madinah in 
an atmosphere where there were numerous dwellings of the 
Jews in and around and the Muslims were constantly 
engaged in debates and arguments with them. If this 
challenge had not been given through Divine revelation the 
Jews, who were not prepared to lose any chance of 
falsifying the Prophet $g. would have easily come forward 
and wished for death openly. In this way the debates that 
had been going on day and night would have been settled in 
a moment. But they were all struck dumb after the 
revelation of this verse and not one of them came forward 
to accept this challenge. 

Whatever may be the opinion of non-Muslims about 
the Prophethood and Messengership of Muhammad *H 
even his enemies never denied the fact that in sagacity 
and wisdom and in intellectual capabilities and 

286 A " approach to the Quranic sciences 

statesmanship he stood at the summit. Even a man with 
an ordinary understanding cannot be expected, without 
having the fullest confidence, to throw a challenge or 
make a prophesy, that may be negated by his opponents 
in a moment. It was never possible for a man as great as 
the Holy Prophet M in sagacity, wisdom and 
statesmanship to throw this challenge without the Divine 


Allah made no promise to preserve the Divine 
Scriptures revealed to different Prophets f*-J» ^Js- before 
the Holy Quran. Hence they could not exist in their 
original forms. Muslims believe that the books called To rah 
Zubur, or Injeel are not the same heavenly Scriptures as 
they were sent down but there havebeen a lot of 
interpolations and changes in them. 340 Even the People of 
the Book themselves admit it and the most staunch Jew or 
Christian cannot claim that every word of these Scriptures 
is Divine and no interpolation in the original text has been 
made. Contrary to this the Quran had already predicted 
about it that. 

Surely We have revealed the Admonition (Quran) and 
surely We are its Guardian. (Ai-Hijr. is:9) 

This challenge has stood the test of time and during 
the fourteen long centuries not even a dot or an iota of its 
words could be destroyed nor any attempt at interpolation 
in its text succeeded. Islam has always been under attack 
of hostile forces which spared no efforts to subdue it, but 

340: For a detailed discussion see Bible se Quran tak by Mawlaha 
Rahjnatullah Kiranavi and edited by ihe author. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 287 

none of them could succeed in destroying the Quran or 
making interpolations in it even in those times when its 
transcriptions were limited in numbers and the means of 
publilcity and printing were scarce. Look at Torch how 
Bukht Nas-ar, the ruler of Bab il (Babylon) and according 
to the traditions of Bani Isra'il nobody except Uzair 
(Ezra) knew Torahby heart, hence he got it rewritten 
dirough his memory after all its copies were destroyed. 341 
According to reports from Banu Isra'il themselves, the 
ruler of Rome, Anitos Apifonis got every single copy of 
Toroh burnt. Until no copy of it was left. 342 

The same happened to Bible (New Testament) so the 
original transcriptions became extinct as a result of the 
attacks of Titus of Rome, Emperor Nero, Domician, 
Deuclacian. But so far as the Quran is concerned it had to 
face hundreds of marauderrs, on many occasions there 
was a general massacre of Muslims, their libraries were 
burnt and huge collections of their ancient books were 
thrown in the river, the entire Islamic world, was 
subjected to the onslaughts of Karmathians who did 
everything in their power to interpolate in the Quran. But 
as promised by Allah, this Book has not only remained 
safe without any change but its propagation and 
circulation keeps on increasing in East and West alike . 
Supposedly, if all the written copies of the Quran were to 
disappear even now there are hundreds of thousands of 
Muslims who are holding it as a sacred trust within their 
hearts. If anyone tried to change a single word in it even 
small children would find it out. 

Furthermore, not only the words but also the meanings 
of the Quran have been safeguarded in a manner that in 
itself has a history of its own. With the passage of time 

341: Encyclopaedia Britanicca v3, p501, 1950. Bible 
342: Bible Nox version, Macmillan, London 1963. 

2XH An approach to the Quranic sciences 

meanings of words of every language keep on changing. 
Thus it was that languages like Hebrew. Kaladani in which 
previous Divine scriptures were revealed, either totally 
disappeared or such drastic changes occurred in them that 
they were transformed into entirely new languages. 

But Allah has conferred the distinction on the language 
of the Quran notwithstanding the thousands of changes and 
revolutions in the world it remains fully preserved. If 
anyone wants to know in what sense a certain word of the 
Quran was used in those times he could easily find it. 

We can guage from this incident how Arabic was 
preserved. There were two mountains by the name of 
Akkad over the city Zaraib in Yemen. The inhabitatns of 
the mountain had vowed that they would have no 
relationship with outside people. They would not marry 
any outsider, have no friendship with them and will not 
travel beyond their mountains. If anyone travels to their 
place, he will not be allowed to stay more than three 
days. They placed these restrictions to prevent a 
corruption of their Arabic language. Historians have said 
that they are the only people whose Arabic language is in 
its original form and has, undergone not the slghtest 
change whatsoever. 343 

In short, the truth of Allah's promise is becoming 
increasingly manifest with the passage of time that this 
Book will ever remain safe and He Himself would 
safeguard it. This prior communication has proved to be 
perfectly correct. 

We do not intend here to describe all the prophecies of 
the Quran but only a few of them. Even these few 
examples clearly denote that prophecies made by the Quran 

343: Mu'ajjam Al-Buldan, Yaqui Al-Hamawi v4. p. 143. Pan. 14, Dar 
SadTr, Beirut 1376 AH. Under root word *%£* and Taj-ul-Urus 
ZebaydT under root word a^s.. 

Ifl approach to the Quranic sciences 2H9 

luve been fulfilled in such a miraculous manner that no 
human effort was involved in them. 


Apart from the prophecies, the Quran has also pointed 
«.ut many scientific and historical facts which were not only 
unknown at that time but could not even be imagined. Jt 
will form an exclusive book if all such verses of the Quran 
are collected together and explained in detail. In these pages 
1 1 is not possible to compile them all, but a few examples 
are being given below. 
1: The Quran has stated that as Fir'aun (Pharaoh) was 

drowning in the sea he confessed Faith orally just to 

save his life. In response Allah said 

B* - - |° < 

X*\ ^JiiL^ 'J»\ j_j5sJ jJuJu dX^r±> 

What! Now! And indeed before this you did rebel, and 
were of the corrupters! So this day We shall rescue you 
with your body that you may be a sign to those who 
come after you. (Surah Yunus 10:91-92) 

At the time of revelation of this verse, and even 
centuries afterwards, nobody knew that the body of Fir'aun 
is still preserved, but it has been discovered only recently 
and is preserved in the museum of Cairo. 
2: The Quran has stated 

And of everything We have created pairs that you may 
be admonished. (Az-Zariyat. 51:49) 

When this verse was revealed the general conception 
was that male and female pairs existed only among human 

290 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

beings and animals or in some vegetations. But with the 
advancement of science the Quranic reality is becoming 
manifest that male and female pairs exist in everything. It is 
a different matter that somewhere they are termed as male 
and female and somewhere as positive and negative or as 
electron and proton, or neutron and positron. In another 
verse the Quran has also clarified that the occurrence in 
pairs in many other things is still not known to people. It 

i°. . '* « ** 

* ^— ■ 

O ij^-a-l*j u C»^«j - g... 

Glorified be He Who created pairs of all things which 
the earth grows and of themselves, and of that which 
they know not. 

(Suah YasTn, 36:36) 


There was a time when the Western authors, 
motivated by deep Christian bigotry used to say openly 
that the Quran was authored by Muhammad^ himself 
and that his claim of Messengership was self-conceived. 
But now the non-Muslim Western authors themselves 
admit that this claim by the earlier Westerners was based 
on prejudice and not supported by any proofs or 
arguments, and the whole life of the Prophet^ belied 
their accusations. The renowned Orientalist of the present 
times Montgomery Watts has written that this was a 
common conception in medieval Europe that Sayyidina 
Muhammad^ (God forbid) was an imposter, who falsely 
proclaimed that he received revelations from Allah, but 
these concepts of the medieval ages were a sort of war 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 291 

propaganda and are now gradually fading away from the 
minds of the Europeans and Christian world. 344 

Professor Watt is perfectly right in saying that the false 
accusation against the Prophet was not based on any 
academic argument but in fact it was a part of propaganda 
which was considered necessary in the fight against the 
Muslims. He has refuted in detail those earlier Europeans 
who used to accuse the Prophet %$ of making false claims 
or of being afflicted with insanity or some disease, and says 
that in view of clear proofs the present day scholars do not 
endorse these accusations. Summing up, he writes that this 
misconception about Muhammad should now be dropped 
from the topic of discussion, and Muhammad should be 
considered as a man who proclaimed with full sincerity 
and honesty the Messages about whom he believed that 
those were sent to him from God. 

After this admission, justice demanded that the 
Prophethood and Messengership of Sayyidina Muhammad 
$g should have been accepted, but the centuries old 
misconceptions are not easily erased from the mind. Hence 
Watt and other authors of the present time admit on the one 
side that the Prophet ^ was sincere in his claim of 
Messengership, but on the other side it is difficult for them 
to give up their own religion openly and accept Islam. 
Hence, in order to find a midway they have invented a very 
strange explanation of Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad's ^ 
claim for Prophethood. 

They say that the revelations received by him were 
not anything extraneous but (God forbid) it was a state 
within himself which had resulted from a prolonged 
thinking and observations and to which he sincerely 
believed to be the voice of Allah or an angel. He was 

344: Watt: Bells Introduction to the Quran Ch.2p-17. 
345: Watt. Bells Introduction to the Quran Ch. 2, p 18. 

292 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

disgusted with the beliefs and customs of his people from 
the earliest days of his life, and that is why he used to 
meditate in isolation rather than follow their way of 
worship. For this purpose he started to spend several 
days at a time in the cave of Hira and as a result of 
prolonged meditation his belief in the Unity of Allah 
became firm, and also the urge to invite his people to his 
belief and rid them of idolatry. In secluded atmosphere of 
the cave with no one to talk to this idea was so deeply 
ingrained on his mind that he began to feel his own inner 
voice as an extraneous voice, and taking it as the voiee of 
Allah or an angel he very sincerely and honestly 
proclaimed himself to be the Prophet. 

This is the explanation about the Prophet's claim to 
Messengership that is now popular among "Western 
Intellectuals". Not one or two but scores of "Researchers" 
among the Orientalists believe in it. so much so that even 
some of those who profess to be Muslims seem to be 
impressed with this view. But a little thought over it will 
make it clear that their motivation behind this explanation 
is nothing but the fact that these "intellectuals" have 
already decided that they will not affirm Messengership of 
the Holy Prophet Muhammad M no matter how 
convincing may be the proofs for it. and no matter how 
far-fetched, absurd and impossible explanations they niay 
have to advance to refute it. The fact is that the 
explanaiton of the Wahy recvealed on Sayyidina 
Muhammad $| given by Professor Watt and other 
Orientalists in the present age is such that one feels shy of 
treating it worthy of an academic and intellectual reply. 
However, the following facts may be kept in view. 
1 : Can it be conceived that the Prophet, about whom they 
themselves admit that he was endowed with the highest 
intellectual and practical abilities, could have mistaken 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 


his own subjective state as a voice from an angel for 
twentythree years and could never understand the 
reality of this extraordinary phenomenon? Wahy did 
not come to him only once or twice, hut it continued 
for hundreds or probably thousands of times during 
these 23 years. Did he suffer from this delusion 
throughout this whole period? 
2: Moreover, if he experienced this so-called 
"Subjective State" on account of the deplorable state 
of his people, condemnation of their heresies and 
assertion of the belief in oneness of God ought to 
have been the first things to have been done as a 
result of this experience. But we find that the first 
revelation neither refuted disbelief and idolatry nor 
preached Unity of Allah, nor did it contain any of his 
basic teachings. On the contrary, the revelation was: 

' \"}[ O jIp & jCJUl^-Ojii- gjjll ift ^0\t \"A 

O pMt 

Read in the Name of your Lord Who created. Created 
man from a blood-clot. Read: and your Lord is the Most 
Bountiful Who taught by the pen. taught man that which 
he knew not. J (Al-'Alaq. 96:1-5) 
3: It is inexplicable that after coming into play only once 
this "Subjective State" is extinguished and for three 
years he hears nothings of it. During this period he 
remains anxious due to the disconnection of Wal.iy. 
Then, after three years, "Waljy" is revealed again but 
still it carries no categorical refutation of idolatry nor 
does it mention anything about the misdeeds of the 
Arabs. The question arises that if this state had 




An approach to the Quranic sciences 

occurred due to his meditation about the heretical life 
of his people and his being filled with the concept of 
Unity of Allah why these "delusions" find no mention 
in the very early stages of Wahy and why did the 
predominant influence of this state convey him no 
message for three years? 

If it was a "Subjective State" it should have been in 
full conformity with the thoughts of the Prophet M 
but at many places in the Qur?n advice has been 
given against his personal views, and at some places 
his personal views have actually been refuted 
alongwith a mild admonition for example: 

It is none of your concern (O Prophet) in the matter, 
whether He relents towards them or chastises them. 

(Al-'Imran. 3:128) 

^ J j& J- ^P S v& -of ^ :>tr u 

It is not for a Prophet to have captives unless he has 
given (the enemy) a sound thrashing in the land. 

(Al-Anfal, 8:67) 

Allah forgive you (O Prophet) why did you permit them 
(to stay behind) till it had become clear to you which of 
them spoke the truth and you had known the liars. 

(At-Tawbah: 9:43) 

Even if it is conceded that the over-powering grip of an 
'dea is felt like an "Extraneous voice", how is it that 
the prophesies made by this Extraneous Voice always 

iii approach to the Quranic sciences 295 

came true, whatever commands given it gave ultimately 
proved to be correct and whatever words it spoke 
should prove to be the ultimate truths which all the 
scholars and orators of the world could not contest, 
until it brings about a sweeping revolution in the 
Arabian peninsula the like of which the world has 
never seen. 
(r. If it is accepted that the "voice" resulting from a 
gripping imagination has some reality then obviously it 
must be a reflection of the knowledge and thoughts of 
the person who hears it and anything that is not already 
in his knowledge and thoughts cannot be known to him 
through this "Voice' But just turn the pages of the 
Quran and you will come to know that there are 
innumerable things in it of which the Prophet ^ had 
no previous knowledge, and it was "Wafyy" that 
imparted this knowledge to him for the first time, for 
example the following verse. 


\'jy ;lo^ 'j£Xj jcjui \y 3 ^bp c ^/jj '^r a 

You knew not what the Book was, nor the Faith, but We 
have made this (Quran) a Light whereby We guide 
whom We will of Our servants. (Ash-Shura. 42:52) 

7: Particularly, there are the events concerning the ancient 
peoples about whom the Quran has clarified and 
factually also it is undeniable that before the coming 
down of Wahy the Prophet ^ was not aware of them. 
The Quran imparted this knowledge to him for the first 
time. For example, after describing the incident about 
Sayyidina Null >8§ in Surah Hud the Quran says, 

c-il i^iikr.o-S* U 'dQ\ %^y s_4«Ji JOl \* 'jjte 

296 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

i ** " " 

ljj!i J*» u? £+aj* u_j 
That is of the tidings of the unseen which We reveal to 
you (O Prophet) you did not know it. nor (knew) your 
people before this. (Surah Hud. 11:49) 

And also. 

si ^io o^r Cm ;lO 4^ , ^ji fid ' v ana 

That is of the tidings of the unseen that We reveal to 
you (O Muhammad). You were not with them when they 
(Yusuf's brothers) agreed upon their plan, while they 
were devising . (Surah Yusuf. 12:102) 

Montgomery Watt and his like-minded admit that 
Prophet Muhammad H never told a lie, and "Not a finger 
can be raised on the integerity and character of 

Muhammad." 346 


Hence, even according to them no mis-statement was 
possible in any verse of the Quran. The question now 
arises that if this "WWrv" was not an extraneous source of 
knowledge how did he know the facts about earlier 
Prophets fk-SSp^Ss- of which he had no prior knowledge? 
8: Here we have mentioned only those things which 
even an ordinary person can easily understand and 
which become clear even with a cursory reading of 
the Quran. If the Traditions that describe the state of 
descent of i 'Wahy n and its earlier incidents are also 
kept in view, the purely imaginary interpretations of 
Watt and others stand automatically nullified. Some 
of those traditions have been described under the 
caption of "History of descent of Watty." 

346: Watt: Bell's Introduction to the Quran eh:2 p25. 

Ail approach to the Quranic sciences 297 



In order to prove that the " W<r//?v" (Divine Revelation) 
received by the Holy Prophet Muhammad <$& was in fact 
his own "Intrinsic state" created as a result of 
predominance of imagination some Western authors have 
stressed that he was aware of the affairs of the earlier 
peoples and the same events were related by him in his 
-Specific State'*. ./^ 

They say that he had heard the facts about previous 
nations from the Jews and Christians of Arabia. In this 
connection two hermits Buhaira and Nastura are specifically 
named. 347 The Prophet's ^g meeting with them during his 
journey to Syria is mentioned in different books of 
biography and history. Some western authors have 
expressed the view that these hermits belonged to Aryusi 
sect who were Unitarians, and (God forbid) he imbibed the 
concept of Unity of God from them, and also acquired 
from them the knowledge of previous books and the affairs 
of earlier nations. 

Even a man with ordinary understanding possessing an 
iota of respect for justice and fairplay, will not believe that 
in the short and accidental meeting with the Prophet during 
his journey to Syria these hermits would have poured out 
before him all the knowledge they had within their hearts, 
and that, he absorbed it all overnight and through it 
founded a revolutionary Faith and religion. To begin with, 
the very assertion that Buhaira and Nastura belonged to 
Aryusi is utterly baseless and false. This is not supported 
even by the weakest records. And no wonder. Because 
Aryusis were declared innovators and heretic as early as the 
fourth century C.E. and even any mention of this Aryusi 

347: Rodwell's English translation of the Oman, preface p. 8. London 

298 A " approach to the Quranic sciences 

was declared to be a punishable offence. 

Athanasius and his followers had left no stone unturned 
to stamp out this sect. How would this unfortunate clan 
survive till the 7th century C.E. Could their remnants, 
supposing any of them were left, be in a position to become I 

the head of a monastery in a city like Basra? 

Secondly, the same reports which mention that during I 

his Syrian journey the Prophet % met these hermits also I 

say that it was a very short, fleeting and off chance I 

meeting in which there could be no room for any learning I 

or education. It is really strange that the people who can I 

believe in such absurdities find it difficult to accept the 
fact of the descent of Wahy (Divine Revelation) on the I 

Prophet 5H. 

Below we produce the most detailed report on the 
Prophet's meeting with Bnliefra, that would clarify the 
reality behind this meeting. 

Abu Musa Ash'arT has beeri_reported in Jlm'e TirmizT I 

to have stated that once Abu Talib (uncle of the Prophet) I 

went to Syria with some other chiefs of Quraysh. There I 

was a hermit living at the place where they stayed in Syria. 1 

They used to pass by even before but he had never paid any I 

heed to them, but against his wont this time he came out of I 

his hermitage and looked at each of them in a searching I 

manner until he held the hand of Muhammad H, and said, I 

**# _ ^UUl 

He it is who is the leader of all the worlds, he it is who ] 

is the Messenger of the Lord of all the worlds, whom 
Allah will send as a Mercy for all the worlds. ] 

The chieftains of Quraysh asked him how did he know 
that? The hermit said that there was not a tree or rock that 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 299 

did not prostrate before him when they had come out of the 
valley, and trees and rocks prostrate only before a 
Messenger of Allah. He further said that the Prophet was 
also bearing the apple-shaped seal of Prophethood under his 
shoulder and with that also he recognised him. 

The hermit then went back and arranged food for 
the entire caravan. When all were seated for the feast, 
Muljammad zlt was not among them. The hermit asked 
where was he? He was told that he had taken the 
camels for grazing. A man was sent for him and when 
he came a cloud was casting its shadow on him. When 
he joined his people all of them had already taken seats 
under the shade of a tree and no shady spot was left. 
He sat down on one side and instantly the shadow of 
the tree hovered over him. The hermit exclaimed, 
"Look! How the tree's shadow has bent over him". He 
then stood up and said to the Quraysh, "Do not take 
him towards Rome. If the Romans saw him they will 
know him by his qualities and signs and kill him". 
While the hermit was talking he saw seven Romans 
coming towards him as if searching for some one. The 
hermit asked them what they were upto. The Romans 
said they were looking for the Prophet (whose tidings 
are present in To rah and InjJl) and who was about to 
come out on a journey in the same month as it was, 
and that the Romans are looking for him everywhere. 
The hermit then asked them if it was possible for 
anybody to stop anything destined by God. They said, 
"No" Then these vowed before the hermit Bah~ira that 
they would no longer pursue the Prophet, and stayed 
with him. The hermit then asked the Quraysh on oath 
as to who was the custodian of Muhammad? People 
told him that it was Abu Talib. The hermit then 
persistently implored Abu Talib to send Muhammad 

300 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

back until he did so. 348 Some of the Ulama have 
questioned the authenticity of this report. 349 But even 
if it is correct, one does not find, even with 
microscopic view, any clue that the Prophet could have 
learnt anything from Bah-ira. It was a very short 
meeting which did not extend to more than a few hours 
and then it took place a time when his age was just 
twelve or thirteen years 350 Can anybody in his proper 
senses believe that at this tender age a meeting lasting 
only for a few hours would have imparted to the 
Prophet 5H such a deep knowledge of the affairs of 
earlier nations that would enable him to challenge the 
people of the Book and expose the interpolations in 
their Books and point out mistakes in them? 

The description of the Prophet's meeting with hermit 
Nastura is even more sketchy than that with Bah-ira. And if 
anybody says on this basis that the Prophet had acquired 
knowledge for the people of the Book, it cannot be explained 
as anything bigotry and animus against Islam. 

But the point to ponder is that if the Holy Prophet ^g 
had learnt about these events from some people of the 
Book, why the idolaters of Makkah, who would go to 
extremes of exaggeration to refute him, remained silent on 
this matter? Why did they not charge that he was taught 
these things by so and so persons. It is the limit that the 
idolaters widely publicised that a certain blacksmith of 
Makkah was the teacher of Muhammad ^ and just because 
the Holy Prophet ^ used to stop at his place for a few 

348: Tirmizi. Abwab al-Manaqib v2. p225 Quran Mahal Karachi. 
349: Bafiz Zahbi among them but Hafiz Ibn Hajar and others have 

termed it an authentic tradition. 
350: There are three versions. One places his age at 9 years another at 

13 but the most agreed one at 12 years. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 301 

\c$ &cj h >: tki uJj sj^ ^3 JL&J i^jj * 

And certainly We know that they say "Only a mortal 

teaches him". The speech of him whom they allude to is 

foreign, and this (Quran) is speech Arabic, manifest. 

(An-Nahl. 16:103) 

But none of them ever raised the objection that he had 
gained all that knowledge from Bah-ira, Nastura or 
Waraqah bin Naufal. It makes it clear that this is an absurd 
objection that even the bitterest contemporary opponents of 
the Prophet did not like to even mention it. 


Some Orientalists have raised objections on certain tacts 
mentioned by the Quran and have tried to impress that the 
Prophet <i£ had heard about them from some scholars 
belonging to the People of the Book and erred while 
describing them. For example: 


Encyclopaedia Britannica has raised an objection 
that Maryam was the name of Sayyidina Musa's 8S$ 
sister and also of the mother of Sayyidina Isa $=31. The 
former was the daughter of " Imran and the Quran (God 
forbid) confusing the two of them described the latter , 
also as "Daughter of Imran". 351 It is too disgraceful 
that even such a universally hailed authority as the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica should have no qualms in 
giving place in it to such an utterly baseless objection. 
Had the author been able to establish through some 
definite proof that 'Imran was not the name of 
Maryam's father, there might have been some weight 
in the objection. But the fact is that if they were asked, 
"What else was the name of the father of Maryam 
other than 'Imran?" they would have nothing to say. 
And what beats it all is the fact that even the Bible 
does not mention her father's name. Even in the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica, under the chapter Maryam it 
has been admitted that "there does not exist any record 
in the historical documents of the first century C.E. 

351: Encyclopaedia Britannica vl3. p483 (Quran). 

304 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

about the parents of Maryam". 352 How strange it is 
that on one side is the ignorance and on the other side 
is the claim that Mar yam's name mentioned in the 
Quran was fallacious. Do the authors of Britannica 
think that if one man is named 'Imrah, all rights get 
reserved for that particular person and no one else by 
that name would come into being in future? In fact this 
only serves as a proof of the Truth of the Quran that 
openly unveils those historical facts which were not 
known to people for seven hundred years. The Quran 
has done it with such a bold and confident style that 
even its most bitter enemies could not dare to prove it 
wrong for fourteen hundred years. 

Further, it is not confined to the name of the father of 
Maryam but all "authentic" Christian sources are silent on 
the topics of her birth, upbringing, childhood and early 
life, so much so that there is no mention about these 
things in any of the four versions of the Bibles. It was the 
Quran that for the first time, revealed these facts to all 
people. In the beginning the Christian world objected to 
these "disclosures" too but now those ancient books on 
Christanity are being discovered in which the incidents are 
mentioned as they exist in the Quran. 353 How surprising 
it is that despite such manifest disclosures of the Quran 
these "Intellectuals" raised objections on the Quran that 
the name of the Maryam's father is not found in any 
Christian sources? 

352: Britannica v 14, p999 (Maryam). 

353: Dictionary of the Bible by Hastings v3 p288. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 305 



In the article "Quran" of Encyclopaedia Britannica 
another objection has been raised that the Quran has 
mentioned Haman as the name of one of the ministers of 
Fir'aun (Pharoah) while no minister by that name occurs in 
the Old Testament of the Bible. The author has expressed 
the view that in fact Hainan was the minister of King 
Esvirus whose name is mentioned in the Bible, and 
Muhammad confused him with the minister of Fir'aun. 354 

This is also a thing with no head and tail and is based 
on the childish assumption that no two persons of one name 
can exist in the world. Further, the fact is that the story of 
so-called minister of Esvirus mentioned by the writer of 
this article in Britannica exists only in a doubtful book 
Apocryphal Book of Bible Esther of the Old Testament. 
This book is not regarded as reliable by the Protestants and 
hence it does not occur in the existing Protestant Bibles. 
However, the Catholics regard it as authentic as Haman or 
Aman 355 was not the minister of king Esvirus but his chief 
courtier 356 and the story written in that book does not have 
even a distant relation with that of the Quran. The Quran 
states that Fir'aun had ordered Haman to build a high 
palace for him so that he could peep into Sayyidina Musa's 
$|S God. The Quran further states that Haman remained 
the arrogant minister of Fir'aun till the end and was 
ultimately drowned with him. Contrary to this, there is no 
such story attributed to Haman (or Aman) in the Book 
Esther. Haman of this book belongs to the time of the 

354: Britannica vl3 p. 483 (Quran). 

355: In some of the books his name is written as Haman, and in other 

as Xmans. 
356: Esther. 3:1. 

306 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

incident of Bakht Nas-ar, and the story only is that due to 
an accidental situation he gained proximity to King Esvirus 
but shortly afterward he ordered mass killing of the Jews. 
The Jewish wife of the King became his enemy and 
ultimately he was hanged by the King and in his place a 
Jew caller Murdeke was nominated. 357 

Anybody who has studied the book of Esther even in a 
cursory manner can fully realise that the story of this book 
does not have even a distant relation to the Quranic story. 
If the Prophet $$ had confused Hainan of the Quran with 
Hainan of Esther there should have been some resemblance 
some wherej3et ween the two stories. The story as described I 
by the Quran does not occur in Esther or any other book of 
the Bible, and the story of Esther not only does not exist 
anywhere in the Quran but is also not found in several 
hundred thousands of traditions to indicate that this had 
ever come to his knowledge. It is all the more surprising 
that it is only the Quran that the present day Christian and 
Jew Orientalists accuse of confusing two people bearing the 
same name. They are never concerned with hundreds of 
such cases found in the Bible. 

357: See Esther 3:1, 8 and 8: and 7:6, 10 and 8:12 (Nox version 
Macmillan Press London, 1963). 



When we pay a close attention to the subjects of the 
Quran we find that they are divided under four major 
headings, and every verse of the Quran can be placed under 
any one of the four headings. 


Commandments . 


Examples or Parables. 


In the Quran, three fundamental beliefs have been 
brought out: Oneness, Messenger ship and Hereafter. 

Tawtild or Oneness means that man should believe that 
every particle of this universe is the creation of One Being 
He should worship the same Being, love Him fear Him 
beseech Him and have firm faith that every particle of the 
universe is His possession and nobody else can alter it 
without Divine guidance. 

Belief in Messengership means that man should accept 
Prophet Muhammad «H and the prophets f^-~ii <*$-!*■ before 
him as true Messengers of Allah, He should confirm 

358: The author had written this article in 1383 AH. eleven years 
before this book was published. It was also published then in 
Bayyinat (the monthly journal). It is now included here with 
some changes and additions. 

30fi An approach to the Quranic sciences 

whatever the Prophets say. 

Belief in the Hereafter means that man should believe in 
such a life after death that will be eternal, and in it everyone 
will be rewarded against the deeds done in the worldly life. If 
he had done good he will deserve the blissful blessings of 
Paradise, and if he had wasted his worldly life in evil deeds 
he would be destined for eternal doom of the Hell. 

In order to prove these three beliefs the Quran has given 
different kinds of arguments. By way of reasoning there are 
four kinds of arguments. To prove a thing a man either cites an 
authority that his opponent also respects. This is known as 
Recorded argument. Or he tries to prove it in a logical manner 
and this is known as Logical argument. Or he shows such 
evidences as persuade his opponent to draw the same 
conclusion as he has drawn himself and this is known as 
Observational argument. Or, he invites attention towards 
previous happenings to prove his point of view and show that 
people succeeded or failed depending on whether they heeded 
the advice or not. This type of argument is known as 
Experimental or Empirical argument. Or, he invites attention 
towards previous happenings to prove his point of view and 
show that people succeeded or failed depending on whether 
they heeded the advice or not .This type of argument is known 
as Experimenta^or Empirical argument 

In the Quran each of these arguments is present and in 
this way the three fundamental beliefs are fully supported 
with arguments. Examples of these are given below 

To prove the Messengership of Sayyidina Muhammad 
3S£ Allah has stated: 

And surely it is (mentioned) in the scriptures of the 
ancients". (Ash-Shuara, 26:196) 

In this verse Allah has addressed the disbelievers saying 
that while they reject the Messenger of Allah, their Books 
(Torah and Injeel) although they are interpolated still 
contain tidings of Prophet Muhammad «|g. 

This is a reference to the prophecies and tidings about 

— . • W9 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

him in the previous divine scriptures. For example it occurs 

in Bible. 

"He came from Sinai, and rose on them from 
Sha'fr 359 and shone his lights from the mountain . 
of FaYan. He came with ten thousand pious 
persons and in his right hand was a fiery code of 
life for them." (Deutronomy. Chapter 33) 

Obviously, no Prophet other than Sayyidina 
Muhammad M coming after those who followed 
Sayyidina Musa 90 appeared from the mountains of 
Flrln and Shamir and ten tousand pious men 360 appear to 
be his Companions because their number at the time of 
conquer st of Makkah was the same. 

Sayyidina Isa 9H is quoted in the InjTl to have said: 
But when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he 
will guide you in all truth: for he shall not 
speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear 
(from God) that shall he speak: and he will 
show you things to come. (John i2:isj 


There are many kinds of Logical^ arguments and almost 
each of them is present in the Quran. The first and most 
widely accepted kind is that conventionally known as Qiyas 
Iqtiranl . A rule is generally described and logical 
conclusion drawn from that premise ._ The Quran contains 
many such examples. In Surah TaHa it is stated that 
Sayyidina Musa m felt some fear when he saw the ropes 
and sticks of the magicians turn into moving snakes. Allah 
comforted him with the following words: 

359: The name of a mountain near Madinah. and Faran is a famous 
mountain of Makkah it is now known as Jabal-Nur. 

360: In the 1958 Edition of Bible the words 'ten thousand" have been 
changed to "hundred of thousands". 

310 A 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

They have only wrought the guffle of a sorcerer and' a 
sorcerer prospers not wheresoever he comes from. 

(Ta Ha, 20:69) 

This is an example of Promiximal Hypothesis The 
concluston is drawn from a minor premise and a maio tells as that (,) . sorcerer wiJJ „ J ^^ 
(2) from wherever he comes. 

Besides there are a large number of such examples in 

the Quran .n which one component is dropped For 

example, the unbe.ievers used to say how was it possfble 

or a person to be brought back to life on t, D ay of 

Judgement when his bones had turned into ash after hi 

death. Allah states that this is definitely possible because 

Yea We are are able to restore his very flngertipes. 

(Al-Qiyamali, 75:4) 

a) While there is, in this example, a minor premise no 
major premise is presented and the final cLE£" 
no- ment.oned. It means that He who can restore even 
the phalanges of fingers, will logically restore decayed 

d^cu,Tbr R T rati0n ° f * he fi " gerS is much "^ 
difficult because the marks and lines on them are an 

amazmg example of Allah's power and wisdom the 
fines „„ one person , s fingm do ^ • <** 

o her person's. We may see a trillion examples. ThaMs 
why the finger impression, have been regarded as an 
alternate to the signature of a person since ancien" 

"rand eVe " t0day " ,e rU ' e ' S he,d in aI1 <" 
Law and governmental procedures. Hence the Being 

* Who can restore the complex and delicate can bring the 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 311 

bones back to life. Therefore it is wrong to deny the 
Day of Resurrection, 
b) The second kind of Logical argument is "Exceptional 
Hypothesis". This argument is presented generally to 
negate something. It has two components. That which 
is to be negated is the first form and is dependent on 
something else. In the second form that which is 
negated is placed. For example, if 1 want to prove that 
it is not daytime I would say ? "If it was daytime, the 
sun should have been there, but since the sun is not 
there, it is not day time". There are many such 
arguments in the Quran. For example, to deny 
polytheism and affirm Unity, it states 

* s 

L/> <dJt jl^cl"!>J> Uju^aJ 4JJ1 Uj X^]\ ll^l? ^^ V 

* - • 

If there were in them (the heaven and the earth) other 
Gods besides Allah, certainly they would both go to 
ruin. 361 (Al-Anbiya. 2 1 :22) 

Here too the hint is there but the conclusion is 

understood without being stated, that is "but the two of 

them were not discorded." Thus we know that there is no 

God other than Allah in the earth and the heavens. 

c) The third kind of Logical argument is known as 

"As-Sabr \\>at-Taqslm" (Probing) through which the 

opponent's claim can be disproved. In this the 

opponent is told that his claim can be proved only if 

any of the several possibilities is found, and since none 

is present his claim is wrong. For example, the 

opponent claims that Mr. X is a member of Pakistan 

361: If there were gods besides One Allah, they would have differed 
in their decisions. 

-^- Ait approach to the Quranic sciences 

Assembly. He would then be told that to be called a 
member of Pakistan Assembly it is necessary that he 
should be a member of National Assembly or of one of 
the Provincial Assemblies and since he is not a 
member of any of them he cannot be called a member 
of Pakistan Assembly. 

Very clear example of this type of argument is present 
in the Quran. The pagans sometimes used to prohibit male 
animals and sometimes female animals to themselves 
although they were permissible, Allah has refuted them by 
asking them the cause of their action. There could only be 
four reasons of prohibition, due to their being males, or 
due to being females, or due to something in the womb 
where they were created, that makes it prohibitory, or just 
because Allah has forbidden it. But all these four things are 
not applicable, because they did not prohibit only males but 
sometimes females as well, so neither the male nor the 
female can be the cause. The womb can also not be taken 
as cause, because in that case both males and females 
should have been forbidden together but they forbade only 
male or female at a time. They also did not forbid it in 
submission to the will of Allah because Allah did not give 
any such command. Allah said. 

r ( r> ^y^ 'J &k yP> 1/j j& M &j 
%x& °^k \\ j. ^Oi fii-y & bh^i df ^Gi 

iyr Jji J* ^ ja j^ pfcf 'j£ 6jj *h\ fit+ 3 \\ 

. * ^ *• ■ *> 
"And of the camels (He has created) a twain, and of the 

cows a twain. Say (O Prophet)," Is it the two males He 

has forbidden or the two females? Or what the womb of 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 313 

two females contain? Were you witnesses when Allah 

enjoined you with this?" <AI-An"am. 6:144) 

Here Almighty Allah has refuted their evil theory as 

Sabr wat-Taqsiml 

The fourth important subdivision of Logical Argument 
is the "Acceptance" approach.. Here, it is argued with the 
opponent that his claim would not hold even if his 
conditions are accepted. The pagans used to say why an 
angel was not sent as a Messenger instead of a human 
being? This has been replied in the Quran in several 
ways, for example. 

i t ' 

And had We made an angel (our Messenger), We would 
surely have made him as a man. (Al-Anam. 6:9) 
That is, in the first place it is not necessary for the 
Messenger to be an angel, rather it is better that the 
Messenger should be a man. If we did send an angel for 
this purpose your object would not have been served 
because you cannot stand the sight of an angel in his 
original shape. Hence he would have to be sent in the shape 
of a human being, and you would have rejected him. 
e) "Diversion" is another form of logical argument. In a 
logical debate it sometimes happens that the debater 
brings forward an argument but his opponent raises an 
objection to it. Then, he gives another argument rather 
than reply to the objection. This does not mean that his 
first argument was wrong, but that the objection is 
based on stupidity and. therefore, another argument is 
being given. This method is known as "Diversion." 
In the Quran, there is an example of it in the incident 
of Sayyidina Ibrahim #l!i. He had to convince Nimrud 
and advanced an argument for the existence of Allah and 

•*12 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Assembly. He would then be told that to be called a 
member of Pakistan Assembly it is necessary that he 
should be a member of National Assembly or of one of 
the Provincial Assemblies and since he is not a 
member of any of them he cannot be called a member 
of Pakistan Assembly. 

Very clear example of this type of argument is present 

in the Quran. The pagans sometimes used to prohibit male 

animals and sometimes female animals to themselves 

although they were permissible, Allah has refuted them by 

asking them the cause of their action. There could only be 

four reasons of prohibition, due to their being males, or 

due to being females, or due to something in the womb 

where they were created, that makes it prohibitory, or just 

because Allah has forbidden it. But all these four things are 

not applicable, because they did not prohibit only males but 

sometimes females as well, so neither the male nor the 

female can be the cause. The womb can also not be taken 

as cause, because in that case both males and females 

should have been forbidden together but they forbade only 

male or female at a time. They also did not forbid it in 

submission to the will of Allah because Allah did not give 

any such command. Allah said, 

r f r> ^/^ 'J & j® &3 J& j$ y-j 

iyr Jji j± ^\ £+ jjual ^i afc sin jiriv, \\ 

«* $ -- *• 
"And of the camels (He has created) a twain, and of the 
cows a twain. Say (O Prophet)." Is it the two males He 
has forbidden or the two females? Or what the womb of 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 313 

two females contain? Were you witnesses when Allah 

enjoined you with this?" (Al-An'am. 6:!44) 

Here Almighty Allah has refuted their evil theory as 
Sabr wat-Taqslml 

The fourth important subdivision of Logical Argument 
is the "Acceptance" approach. Here, it is argued with the 
opponent that his claim would not hold even if his 
conditions are accepted. The pagans used to say why an 
angel was not sent as a Messenger instead of a human 
being? This has been replied in the Quran in several 
ways, for example. 

And had We made an angel (our Messenger), We would 
surely have made him as a man. (Al-Anam. 6:9) 
That is, in the first place it is not necessary for the 
Messenger to be an angel, rather it is better that the 
Messenger should be a man. If we did send an angel for 
this purpose your object would not have been served 
because you cannot stand the sight of an angel in his 
original shape. Hence he would have to be sent in the shape 
of a human being, and you would have rejected him. 
e) "Diversion" is another form of logical argument. In a 
logical debate it sometimes happens that the debater 
brings forward an argument but his opponent raises an 
objection to it. Then, he gives another argument rather 
than reply to the objection. This does not mean that his 
first argument was wrong, but that the objection is 
based on stupidity and. therefore, another argument is 
being given. This method is known as "Diversion." 
In the Quran, there is an example of it in the incident 
of Sayyidina Ibrahim S$L He had to convince NimriTd 
and advanced an argument for the existence of Allah and 

314 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

His Unity 

* t> * , o o * o . f 


My Lord is One who gives life and causes death". 
On this Nimrud got hold of an innocent person and had 
him killed. Then, he released a person who was sentenced 
to death, and said 

I also give life and cause death. (Al-Baqarah. 2:258) 
Sayyidina Ibrahim i&. understood that the stupid person 
did not understand the actual meaning of giving life and 
causing death, hence he immediately presented another 
argument which silenced Nimrud. He said, 

Surely. Allah brings the sun from the east so you bring 
it from the west. (Al-Baqarah. 2:258) 

This was a "Diversion" which silenced Nimrud. 

^ •* *■ ^ 

j& ^JJl C-g;1> 

Thereupon he. who disbelieved was confounded. 

(Al-Baqarah. 2:258) 


This kind of argument pertains to "Observation". The 
Quran has used this type of argument more than the others 
because logical and philosophical argument may silence a 
person but sometimes it does not appeal to the heart, and does 
not offer a cure to the sufferer of doubts. The Quran does not 
intend to silence anyone but it aims at letting the truth penetrate 
into the heart. Also, logical, arguments are useful for a 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 315 

particular group of people, and every illiterate and ignorant 
person cannot benefit from them. But "Observation" is so 
evident that even an illiterate villager cannot resist saying, 

When the excreta on the wayside point to a camel and 
the foot print to wayfarers, why the sky of domes and 
the earth of caves cannot point to the Subtle and 
All-Knowing Creator. 

Allah has presented most of the Observational 
arguments each time with a new grandeur and style. Here is 
an example where arguments for Unity of Allah have been 

\y) >°/ili 3^. yl o trjjit # ^ 3: in y lir, 

o* 3**"i ^'X ^ iJ**-j O 1 *^ ^^r l^j 

/%-5Uk>«j^ e^LJl ^Jl&S^j* olio til Ja-JsuJi t__ ^^rj °v»' 

ji^ jifa oyj^ij ii ihs *ui ^ % ^jt5i Xii. 

^Wi o 'oy->J ili. 2&1 J& Jji y it; 


Or, who has created the heavens and the earth, and 
sends down water for you from the heaven? So, with it 

3 J() An approach to the Quranic sciences 

We cause to grow orchards of delight — it is not 

possible for you to cause the trees to grow thereof. Is 

there a God with Allah? Nay, they are a people who 

deviate (from the right path!). Or who had made the I 

earth a fixed abode, and placed rivers in its midst, and 

placed thereon firm mountains and placed a barrier 

between two seas? Is there a God with Allah? Nay. 

most of the them know not! Or who answers the 

distressed one when he calls upon Him and relieves his 

suffering, and makes you to be successors in the earth? 

Is there a god with Allah? (But) little you are 

admonished. Or. who guides you through the depths of 

darkness on land and sea, and who sends the wind as 

heralds of glad tidings, before His mercy? Is there a 

god with Allah? Exalted be Allah above what they 

associate (with Him). (An-Naml. 27:60-63) 

The Being Who is doing such important works and 
there is none else who can do them must be the One worthy 
of worship, and associating anyone else with Him will be 
utmost stupidity. Just think that the Being Who can alone 
do such great works, why should He be in need of an 
associate for minor works? These verses tell us that the 
Being Who does these important things which none else can 
do is surely entitled to be worshipped. To associate any 
other with Him is the worst form of absurdity. We must 
also ask ourselves how can He Who does all this need a 
partner to do minor things? 362 

It is also stated in support of the Hereafter. 

362: The unbeblieves of Arabia knew that Allah has created the earth 
and heaven and does all the things described in the above verses 
but they supposed that He has appointed the kings of the world 
as His helpers in the administration of these tasks. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 317 

/> o 

Ct« \j^\sjj j \j*\s1j>j vJuT rt-^i^i ^LJLJI Jj \^J^j *%— JLi' 

JN <^ ?J Oj^ ° p^ f Jj J 5 o? Hs* ^V 
ob->- <u L£jli IS^vL* *C» t CjLJi *"'«• Uh O ^_Jl£ alp 

Have they not beheld the heaven above them, how We 
have built it, and adorned it, and it has no cracks? And 
the earth. We have spread it out and cast on it firm 
mountains, and We caused to grow therein of every lovely 
kind (of vegetation), for an insight and an admonition to 
every penitent servant. And We send down from the 
heaven blessed water, then We cause to grow thereby 
gardens and grain of harvest, and tall date-palms having 
ranged cluster, a sustenance for the servants, and thereby 
We revive a dead land. Thus, will be the coming forth 
(from the earth). (Surah Qaf, 50:5-1 1) 

In the Quran things described in connection with human 
body and soul, realities of the universe, astronomy, 
vegetation and geophysics, mostly follow this line of 
arguments. And where the emphasis is on pondering over 
the universe the intention is that the man should thereby 
develop an understanding and conception of the limitless 
power of its Creator. He may prostrate himself before Him 
alone. Accordingly, the Quran has unveiled many scientific 
realities. But all such things must be seen in the whole 
context of the Quran otherwise to think of it as a book of 
Science will create many misunderstandings. 

318 An approach to the Quranic sciences 


The Quran has invited attention to the experiences of 
the previous nations. Hence it has stated at various places. 

gyi b& ar ur &&S ^Oi j \?j^ fr\ 
iui -jir Hi o,iijb 5411/, ^-fiVj iv£^ \L* 3SI 

"Have they not travelled in the land and seen how was 
the end of those before them? They were stronger than 
these in might, and they filled the land and built upon it 
more than these have built. And their Messengers came 
to them with clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty). So it 
was not Allah Who wronged them, but they used to 
wrong themselves." (Ar-Rum, 30:9) 


o igjOJi ^J iS-j ihi J; ^« ^ ^sCj I 

And how many a township have We destroyed, that exulted 
in its (easy) way of living! So those are their dwelling 
places: they have not been inhabited after them except a 
litde. And We are ever the Inheritors!" (Al-Qasas, 28:58) 

The purpose of narrating these experiences is to sound a 
note of caution that those people who had fashioned their 
lives on a wrong footing turning away from the light of 
guidance were ever pushed by Allah into deep caverns 
from where they could never come out. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 319 


In addition to proving the above mentioned beliefs, the 
Quran has negated many of the wrong beliefs and actions, 
and given satisfactory answers to different doubts harboured 
by poeple. in the terminology of the principles of TafsTr the 
Verses of the Quran that treat this subject are called Ayat 
Mukhasamah (The Negating verses) 

In this type of verses four kinds of astray poeple have 
been opposed and negated: 
1 . polytheist idolaters 2. Christians 

3. Jews 4. Hypocrites. 


The heathen Arabs were involved in any of the five 
wrong ways 

1. Associating others with Allah. They used to ascribe 
partnership of idols with Allah in certain of His specific 
Excellences. Their belief was that although Allah was the 
Creator of everything yet, like the emperors of this world 
who entrust other poeple with administration, He too has 
delegated Certain powers to others. He keeps control of the 
Universe but He has entrusted matters of subsistence etc. to 
the idols, and does not interfere in their affairs. Hence, 
request relating to these departments should be made to the 
idols. The idols should be worshipped to gain their pleasure 
that they recommend their worshippers to Allah. The Quran 
has described their belief in the foil wing words: 

We worship them only that they may bring us nearer to 
Allah. (Az-Zumar:3) 

Idol worship under this pretext was originated by a man 
named Ami- bin Luhayy and it spread day by day, so they 

^■20 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

were worshipping 360 idols at the time of Prophet 
Muhammad J$g. The Quran has rejected their behaviour in 
different manners. Sometimes it has asked them to support 
their blind conduct with proof. It has proved that Allah has 
authority over everything. He brings into existence merely 
by intending to do so. Then, why should He need the 
assistance of others in the administration of His Kingdom. 
The verse quoted above denotes this very fact. Sometimes, 
He draws their attention to the stone that lay under the 
footsteps but suddenly becomes a god after being beaten 
and carved out by chisel and hammer. Just by being given 
the names Lat or Hubal they cannot become the cherisher 
or sustainer of people. 

These are naught but names which you have named, you 
and your fathers: Allah has sent no authority concerning 
them. (An-Najm, 53:23) 

Similitude: The second wrong the idolaters indulged in 
was their comparison of Allah to themselves. Hence 
they said that He had a body and family and they 
described the angels as His daughters. The Quran has 
refuted it in two ways. First, by a clear denial that 
Allah has children. 

He begets not, nor was He begotten. (Al-lkhlas, 1 12:3) 

Secondly, by denying in particular that He has 
daughters. They were told that they should think over it 
that while they consider it a shame and ignominy for 
themselves to have daughters, they assert that the Being 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 321 

who is Authority over the universe has daughters for 

O SjJull jl-^j c^Lull l! j4 

Or, has He daughters while you have sons? 

(At-Tur, 52:39) 

What is the matter with you? How do you judge? 

(Al-Qalam, 68:36) 

3: Interpolation: This was the third kind of wrong that they 
practised. While they regarded themselves as followers 
of the religion of Sayyidina Ibrahim SSSl and said that 
they were exactly on his creed, yet they had innovated 
many subsidiary laws and orders for themselves. They 
circumambulated the Ka'bah in a naked state, whistled 
and clapped instead of offering Saiah, and altered the 
order of the months. If the prohibited month came 
during a war they extended if for another month, and so 
on. Allah has exposed their absurdities and instructed 
the Muslims to refrain from such behaviour. 

. * o * .-"• * » 

O children of TTda'm! Take (goodly apparel for) your 
adornment at every place of worship. (Al-A'raf, 7:31) 

And their prayer at the (sacred) House is nothing but a 

whistling and a clapping of hands. (Ai-Anfal, 8:35) 


* x ^"^ x- 

The shifting of the sacred month is only an addition into 

322 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

disbelief. (At-Taw-bah. 9:37) 

4: The fourth form of wrong they committed was that 
they did not accept Muhammad jH as the Messenger of 
Allah. They argued as to how a person who walked 
around and ate and drank like them could be a 
Messenger? The Quran has spoken against this attitude 
frequently and explained that there is nothing wrong in 
a human being receiving Messengership and 
Messengers of Allah had always been human beings. 

- ^ 

And We sent not before you (any Messengers) but men, 
from the poeple^of the towns;, to whom we sent 
revelation... (Surah Yusut, 12:109) 

5: Their fifth wrong was "Rejection of Hereafter" and 
they thought that resurrection after death was not 
possible. The Quran has censored their stand in 
different verses: 

Do they not see that Allah who created the heaven and 
the earth, and was not wearied by their creation is Able 
to give life to the dead. (Al-Ah'qaf 46:33) 


The Quran has also refuted the Jews. These people 
were wayward beyond limits and practised all sort of vices 
that the idolaters had in them (except denial of the 
Hereafter). They called themselves the followers of Torah 
but in fact they did not follow it. Rather, Torah, so to say, 
was at their mercy, and they made whatever alterations they 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 323 

liked in it. Their alterations in Torah were of three kinds: 
1: Alteration in words, whereby they presented wrong 

translation to the verses of Torah. 
2: Alteration in meaning, whereby they read their own 

meanings in the verses and invited the people to obey 

them. For example: 

"It has remained well known to the people of every 
Prophet that an unbeliever and a transgressor are not 
alike, they are different and their fate are also different. 
An unbeliever is one who does not believe in the 
fundamontal truths of the natural religion such as Unity, 
Prophethood and Hereafter. Such a person deserves Hell 
forever. The transgressor, on the other hand, is one who 
does beleive in these fundamentals yet does not obey the 
tenets of religion in respect of his deeds and character, 
and pursues that which is severely prohibited. Such a 
person will not suffer eternal torment but will enter 
Paradise after undergoing his sentence in Hell. The same 
fact was mentioned in the Torah that a person who 
believed in Sayyidina Musa &■ deserves Paradise, and if 
he does go to Hell it would be a temporary affair. This 
only meant that anybody who believed in the Messenger 
of his time in conformity with the fundamental concepts 
of natural religion will be subject to this procedure. The 
Jews interpreted it in the sense that believing only in 
Sayyidina Musa $$$ was sufficient for their salvation and, 
thus it was not necessary for them to believe in Sayyidina 
Muhammad •!§. 

And they say the Fire shall not touch us but for a 
number of days." (Al-Baqarah. 2:80) 

The Quran has clearly negated it. It says 

324 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Ufcd iSjfi Q^ v \zM$j '& vik v. jl; 


Yea! Whoever earns evil and his sins have encompassed 
him, so those are the Companions of the Fire, they shall 
abide therein . (Al-Baqarah, 2:81) 

3: The third thing was that they used to conceal from the 
poeple many verses of the Torah. They did this so that 
they could retain their esteem in the society. They 
feared that people will become averse to them if they 
found out that their learned scholars did not obey those I 
commandments, and thus they will loose the honour 
and dignity they were enjoying. 

Thus, they had concealed the verses that predicted the 
advent of Sayyidina Muhammad M and the verses about the 
stoning of an adulterer and they used to instruct each other 
not to disclose them to the Muslims. The Quran has 
unveiled it to inform the Prophet % that this is what they 
talk to each other 

Do you speak to them of what Allah has disclosed to 
you, so that they may thereby contend with you before 
your Lord. (Al-Baqarah, 2:76) 


They galled themselves the followers of Sayyidina 'Isa 
(Jesus) H * 

Their first wrongdoing was their "Belief in Trinity". It 
implies that God has three components that are blended 
together in some other respects, and separated in some 
other respects. The first part is "Father", the second is 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 325 

"Son" and the third is "Holy Ghost". The "Son" part of 
Him came to this world as Sayyidina 'Isa (Jesus) 883'. 

Allah has negated this silly, ignorant concept through 
the light of knowledge, and at many places in the Quran He 
has emphasised that this was an unreasonable concept from 
which 'Isa (Jesus) 301 himself sought refuge. 


*JjJbh3 ^^ o~L5 b-jfl jUji ^ LS~4f^ ^ U 15 Mj 

Uji? bf 'J bjzs c a£6£. yu*4Ji o/, ^ ^l ^ 

2 J 

9 J 

And (recall) when Allah will say: "O fc Isa\ son of 
Maryam! Did you say to mankind 'Take me and my 
mother for two gods besides Allah?' 'Isa will say: "Be 
Thou glorified! It is not mine to say that to which 1 have 
no right. If I had said it, thou wouldst indeed have known 
it. Thou Knowest what is in my mind, and 1 know not 
what is in Thy mind. Surely Thou and only Thou art the 
knowcr of the Unseen. I spoke to them naught but as 
Thou commandest me. "Worship Allah, my Lord and 
your Lord." And I was a witness over them while I dwelt 
among them, but when Thou didst lake me. Thou wast the 
Watcher over them. And Thou art witness over 
everything. If Thou chastises! them, surely they are Thy 
slaves, and if Thou forgivest them. Thou are the Mighty, 
the Wise. (AI-Ma'idah. 5:116-118) 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Like the idolaters, they also rejected the Messenger and 
drew examples for Allah and interpolated in the Book. 


The hypocrites were mischievous, ill mannered, coward 
and people of low moral courage. In their hearts, revered 
the same deities as were worshipped by other disbelievers, 
but they did not have the courage to proclaim thier beliefs 
openly. Hence, with their tongues they affirmed Unity, 
Messengership and the Hereafter but, in secret, they 
conspired against the Muslims. 

Some of them proclaimed Islam merely to further their 
conspiracy and treachery against it. Their hearts, however, 
were full of the evils of disbelief and polytheism. There 
were some others who confessed Islam because their elders 
did so. For them the real thing was to follow their elders, 
hence if the elders had remained unbelievers they would 
also have remained unbelievers and if they had embraced 
Islam, these people made an outward demonstration of it. 

Since these hypocrities did not have any fixed beliefs 
and they professed Islam orally, obviously a negation of 
their beliefs was out of question. However, the Quran has 
unveiled their evil designs and conspiring nature at many 
places and exposed their baseness. Examples of this can be 
seen in Surah At-Tawbali and Al-Anfal. 


The next subject of the Quran is "Commandments". 
These can be divided into three kinds. 

I. Laws and Commands pertaining exclusively to the 
^ rights of Allah. We call this worship. These include 

Purification, Salah . Zakah, Fasting of Ramadin, 
. Sacrifice and commands about rjajj. The Qura"n has 

given basic guidelines about these matters. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 327 

2. Laws and Commands pertaining exclusively to the 
rights of people which are called Mutual Dealings, for 
example, trade, justice, witness, trust, pawning, eating 
of slaughtered animals, use of different drinks, bequest 
and inheritance etc. The rules relating to these matters 
are laid down in the Quran itself. 

3. Laws and Commands which are acts of worship in 
some respects and mutual dealings in other respects. In 
treating them the Quran has described rules and 
instructions about Marriage and Divorce, Criminal 
Laws, Honesty, Torts, Wars (Jihad), Belief, Oaths and 

The Quran wants to give to the world such a clean way 
of life that may allow man to live in peace and tranquility. 
That is why it implemented its orders in a gradual process. 
Any command was not given abruptly, but people were first 
mentally prepared for it and then it was implemented. An 
example of this is the prohibition of intoxicant drinks. The 
Arabs were so addicted to it that they had two hundred and 
fifty names for it in their language. To rid them of this evil 
habit is a miracle of the Quran alone. When in the begining 
the Holy Prophet M was asked about the permissibility of 
intoxicants, he did not at once say that it was forbidden but 
the Quran said: 


Say: In both is a grievous sin and some benefits for 
people but the sin in them is more grievous than their 
benefits. (Al-Baqarah: 2:219) 

Good natured people understood thereby that it was 
better to give it up. Then after sometime, the 
commandment was sent: 

328 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Draw not near Salah while you are intoxicated. 

(An-Nisa, 4:43) 

This brought about a general disliking for wine. Hence, 
after sometime again the command was: 

wine and gambling (game of chance) and (sacrificing) to 
idols, and divining arrows are an abomination of Satan's 
handiwork, so abstain from it. (Al-Ma'idah, 5:90) 


The Commandments in the Quran were revealed in one 
of the two ways: 

When Allah wished to change an evil custom among the 

Muslims or Disbelievers. 

1. A verse or verses were revealed. For example, Sayyidah 
Ayshah i** Jw h ^ states that it was customary with 
the Arabs that they used to take as their wives, female 
orphans under their custody, for the sake of their wealth 
or beauty. But, they did not pay them a dower similar to 
the one they paid on marrying any other woman. 
Sayyidina Ibn 'Abbas 4ft has stated that some Arabs 
used to marry upto ten women at the same time, and 
when they could not support them they used to 
appropriate the property of orphans under their care, 
^'ikramah 4& has said that the Arabs married upto ten 

^ wives but did not treat them with justice and equality. 

W All such customs and deeds were wrong and needed to 
be changed in an Islamic society. So Allah revealed a 

. 329 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

comprehensive verse which eradicated all these evils. 4% 

And if you fear that you will not deal fairly with the 
orphans (under your wardship), then marry such other 
women as seem good to you, two three or four; and if 
you fear that you will not act justly (towards them), 
then (marry) only one. (An-Nisa, 4:3) 

Those who were not giving full rights to the orphan 
women under their care and taken as their wives were 
advised through this verse that it was not proper to marry 
these orphan women when Allah allowed them to marry 
upto four wives from among the other women. 

This also set a limit of four wives for those who 
married upto ten women and then were unjust and unfair 
to them. It also emphasised that this permission was 
subject to strict justice and equality to all the four. If they 
feared that they would be unjust and unfair then they 
should be content with only one wife. 

Thus a single verse put an end to several evils at the 

same time. 

2: The other cause of the revelation of commands was an 
enquiry by the companions about any particular 
subject. Examples have been given in chapter 2 under 
the heading "Causes of Revelation". 


The third and important subject of the Quran is Stories 
and Happenings. These can be divided in two parts (1)-- 
Events of the past, and (2). Future events. 


Of the past events, Allah has mostly described the 

events related to Prophets and Messengers (»*>LJi ^Js- . He 

has also related account of pious men and disobedient 


The Quran has described the events in the lives of 

twenty seven Prophets $S1 whose names in chronological 

order are as under: 

"Adam, Nuh, IdrTs, Hud, Salih, Ibrahim, Ismail, 
Ishaq Lift, Ya'qu"b, Yu"suf, Shu'ayb, Musa, 
Harun, Yusha', HizqTl, Yunus, Ilyas, Al-Yasa,' 
Shamu'il Dawood, Sulayman, Zul-kifl, f Uzayr, 
Zakariyya, Yahya and 'Isa ^^L^\^Js-. 
In addition to the above Prophets the following ten 

persons and nations have also been mentioned in the Quran. 
Ashab-ul-Jannah (Companions of the Garden), 
Asha~b-ul-Qaryah (People of a township). 
Luqman, Ashabus Sabt (People of Saturday), 
Asha"bur-Rass (Companions of Rass), 
Zulqarnayn, Ashab-ul-Khaf (cave-sleepers) and 
RaqTm, Qaum-e-Saba" (People of Sheba), 
AshTb-ul-UkhduTd (People of UkhdTTd), 
Ashab-ul-Fll (Lords of Elephants). 
The aim of the Quran in describing these stories is not 

to recall history but by recalling them, moral lessons and 

332 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

advice for the Muslims. It tells us too that the happenings 
of the previous nations were being recited by one who 
was unlettered and had never been in company of anyone 
who could teach him or impart that knowledge to him. 
Hence indeed he was being informed by Allah, and the 
source of the words he was reciting was not any human 
being but Allah Himself. 

Further, there are treasures of knowledge in these 
narrations and every verse of the Quran provides guidance 
to mankind in countless issues. 


Sometimes the same story is repeated in the Quran 
several times. The events related to Sayyidina Musa &U for 
instance have been described seventy two times. Why it is 
so? One might feel that it would have been easier and 
simpler for the people if an event were narrated only once 
and relevant tenets described instead. Many differences 
would have been eliminated thereby. 

In fact, there are several expedient reasons for such 

1: The Quran was not revealed all at once but it was 
revealed gradually and it was sent to those people 
who had to face immense hardships and ever new 
trials in their early days. In fact it would not be 
wrong to say that their entire life was spent in 
warfares, sacrifices and hard work, paricularly in 
the stage of their progress. They could have become 
disheartened if solace was offered to them 
repeatedly. That is why we find that the Quran has 
described the events related to previous Prophets 
f%J\ ^As- when Muslims were faced with 
difficulties, and they were repeatedly told that they 
were not the only ones facing these trials but every 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 333 

people charged with the duty to invite to 

righteousness had passed trials and hardships but 

ultimately they gained success and victory. 

For the same reason sometimes all the events of a 

Prophet do not occur in the Quran at one place but different 

parts of the same event have been described at different 

places in relevance to the subject under discussion. 

2: It becomes clear from the repetition of these 

stories that the purpose of the Quran is not to give 

the details of various commands but it describes 

only the principles underlying them. The basic 

purpose of the Quran is to reform the beliefs, 

exhort to moral behaviour and character-building. 

As for the details of the laws, they were taught and 

explanined by the Prophet ^ through non-Quranic 


This approach of the Quran is very convincing proof 
for the authority of Prophetic Traditions (fjadith). If the 
Quran alone was meant to be the final argument in 
Islamic law, and Hadith had no such authority the Quran 
would have described the Commandments instead of 
repeating the stories which would have been left to 
non-Quranic revelations. Obviously, the purpose of 
narrating the stories would have been served in that 
way. But adopting the approach as has been done the 
Quran has emphasised that its purpose is to impart to 
mankind correct belief and build their character. It 
describes only the underlying principles. About the 
details it says: 

_ J» ,v *« # . i *>„,«•»' 

But no, by your Lord! they will not believe until they make 

334 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

you (O Prophet) the Judge of what is in dispute between 
them, then find no vexation in their hearts over what you 
decide, and submit with full submission. (An-Nisa. 4:65) 
3: The third wisdom in repetition of stories is that it 
reflects on the miraculous nature of the Quran. It is 
human psychology that listening to the same thing over 
and over again tires the ears. Even an interesting story 
loses its charm. But the Quranic narrations are such 
that every time the reader or listener gains a fresh 
interest and insight into it and one cannot resist 
concluding that Quranic discourse cannot be the 
product of human mind. 


The Quran has also made predictions and prophecies. 
These include the signs of the Doomsday, events of the Day 
of Judgement and the scene of that Day, torments of Hell, 
and the charms and pleasures of Paradise. Hence 
appearance of a strange animal on earth, coming of Gog 
and Magog, the Trumpet of angel Israfil f0, Reckoning 
Mutual Conversation among the dwellers of Hell find 
mention in the Quran frequently. 


The Quran uses two kinds of parables. The first kind 
are used as examples to explain things, eg. 

The similitude of those who expend their riches in the 
way of Allah is as the similitude of a grain that grows 
seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. 

(Al-Baqarah. 2:261) 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 335 

Such examples have been used to state that the 
reward in the Hereafter will be seven hundred times 
what one spends in the way of Allah in this life. 
Sometimes, it is more than that. Man cannot 
understand it easily so Allah explains it through an 
example that just as a grain can grow seven hundred 
grains on the earth so the reward will be seven hundred 
times in the next world. 

Secondly, the examples known as "Proverbs" have been 
used in the Quran in two ways. There are some which 
gained coinage after the revelation of the Quran. In other 
words, the Quran invented them, for example. 

Is the recompense of goodness anything but goodness? 

(Ar-Rahman, 55:60) 

.0 £ O <■ ^ t ' ' 

I , 1 1 > •" -f l» .» , ■>..{-• 

And that you should forgo is nearer to piety. 

(Al-Baqarah, 2:237) 

The second type of proverbs are those that are not 
proverbs actually but the meaning of the verse points to the 
one already in use. There are several such examples in the 
Quran. For example there is a popular Arabic proverb 

j — : — -" lT-^- 

or in Persian 

(Hearing is not like witnessing) 

This is the same as "Seeing is Believing" in English. 
This is used in the following verse of the Quran, when 

336 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Prophet Sayyidina Ibrahim Jfts said to Allah, "Show me 
how you give life to the dead". On this Allah said, "Do you 
not beleive! Sayyidina Ibrahim $H then said: 

Yea, but that my heart, may rest at ease. (Al-Baqarah, 2:60) 
Similarly, a popular proverb runs: 

A Muslim cannot be bitten twice (by snake) through the 
same hole." 

This is reflected in a verse of Surah Al- Yusuf. The 
brothers of Sayyidina Yusuf 8$, who had cast him down in 
a well earlier, requested Sayyidina Ya'qub #S@i to send 
Binyamin with them. He said, 

Should I entrust him to you but as I entrusted his brother 
to you before? (Surah Yusuf, 12:64) 










The word "TafsTr" is derived from "Fasr" which means 
"to open" . Since the meanings of the Quran are openly 
described, this science is known as the "Science of TafsTr" 
or Exegesis. In the beginning this word was applied 
exclusively to the explanation of the Quran. 1 During the era 
of the Prophet 3$if the sciences were not yet grown much so 
there were not many branches of the sciences. But when it 
acquired the shape of an organised knowledge and received 
attention from different angles, it became a very vast and 
developed science, and kept on expanding according to 
needs of the time. The techincal interpretation of 
'Ilm-ut-TafsTr (Science of exegesis...) The science of TafsTr 
is that branch of knowledge that deals with the method of 
the delivery of the words of Quran, their interpretation, 
their individual and composite forms and expediencies. It 
includes the meanings derived from them in their composite 
state. In the summation of meanings due consideration is 

1: *Allamah ZarkashT has defined Tafsir in brief as: ^ ^ *Jyupl*" 

-"*-3or {The knowledge through which one gains understanding of 
the Qur ! an and comprehension of its commandments and 
wisdom.} (Al-Burh&n, vl, p. 13) 

340 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

allowed to the background of revelation, the abrogator and 
the abrogated and equivocal stories. 2 

In the light of this definition the science of TafsTr has 
the following components. 

1 : Methods of delivery of the words of Quran, that is 
how the words of the Quran may be read. Early 
Arabic commentators used to mention in detail the 
various recitals of every verse in their exegesis and 
for this purpose a separate science by the name of 
"Qira'at" (Recitals) also exists. This has been dealt 
with briefly in the preceding pages. 
2: Interpretation of the words of Quran, that is, the 
lexical meanings of the words. For this it is essential to 
be thoroughly conversant with the science of lexicons. 
That is why we find numerous references to the I 
scholars of lexicons and to Arabic literature in the 
books of exegesis. 
3: Individual Forms of the words. This implies a 
knowledge of every word as to form, its root, how did 
it acquire its present form, its conjugation, and the 
meanings and attributes that go with that conjugation 
form. For this the knowledge of etymology is needed. J 
4: Rules regarding compound words. This is to know the 
meaning it conveys when it combines with other 
words? What is its grammatical analysis? Why the 
diacritical marks so placed and to what meaning they 
point at? For this, the science of Syntax and Meanings 
is essential. 

5: The ultimate meaning of the compound phrase. It is I 
to know what meaning a particular verse conveys in I 
reference to its context? Depending on the subjects of ] 
the verse, help is taken from various sciences. Apart 
from these, somet imes one has to look at it from the 

2: Ruh ul-Ma'ani, Aalusi, v. 1, p. 4. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 34 J 

point of language and literature, tjadith and principles 
of jurisprudence are also considered. 
6; Summation of the meanings. Due consideration is 
given to the background of verses and details of short 
and concise expressions of the Quran. For this purpose 
mostly the Aliadith are relied upon. But this is such a 
vast subject that the knowledge of almost every art and 
science of the world can be incorported in it because 
sometimes in a very short sentence the Quran 
expresses an endless world of realities and secrets. For 
examples, the Quran says... 


»•' ~> 

And also in your own selves — do you not see? 

(Az-Zariyat. 51:21) 

Just see that the entire subjects of physiology and 
psychology can be encompassed in the explanation of this 
short sentence, yet it may not be said with certainty that it 
explains fully the secrets of Allah's infinite Wisdom in 
creation as contained in this phrase. Hence through 
intellect, thinking, experiments and observation, different 
subjects become part of the science of TafsTr (Exegesis). 


In the early period another word "To W7/ M was also used 
for "TafsTr" and even the Quran itself has used the former 
for its TafsTr e.g. 

&l ill &jU j&a £j 

But none knows its interpretation except Allah. 

(Al-'lmran, 3:7) 

Thereafter the scholars began to argue whether the two 
words were interchangeable and synonymous or different 

342 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

from each other? 

Imam Abu Ubayd and some others think they are 
synonymous, while some other scholars have tried to point 
out differences in the two words, but so many different 
opinions have been expressed to denote these differences 
that it is very difficult to enumerate all of them. Some of 
these opinions are. 3 
1: "Tafslr" is the name of explanation of individual words 

exclusively, and "Ta'wlf" is explanation of a sentence 

or sentences. 
2: "Tafslr" means the description of apparent meaning of 

words but "Ta'wll" means to explain the inherent 


3: "Tafslr" is an interpretation of a verse which is not 

open to any other interpretation while Ta>wll is to 

choose one interpretation out of the several possible in 

explaining a verse. 

4: "Tafslr" is an unquestionable explanation while 

"Ta J wlr may be challenged with another explanation. 
5: "Tafslr" is the name of explaining the words, and " Ta'wll" 
is meant to expound the lessons derived from them. 
And there are other differences too. 
6: In fact, the opinion of Abu 'Ubayd appears to be 
correct that there is no real difference in the use of 
these two words. Those who hold the two words as 
different have not given us a definite and unanimous 
verdict through their /divergent arguments. It seems that 
some scholars did try to give the two words different 
meanings but they could not give a convincing 
^^ argument and gain universal acceptability. That is why 
the commentators even from the earliest times are 
using them as synonyms and one word is used for the 
other hence it is futile to waste time in this discussion. 

3: Al-Itqan, SuylTti, v2. p!73. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 343 



After this brief introduction to the Science of Tafslr, the 
most important thing to know is the sources of "Tafslr" of 
the Quran. 

What are the available means through which Tafslr 
(exegesis) of a verse can be determined? The answer to this 
question calls for some details which are given below. 

First of all it should be understood that the Quranic 
verses are of two types. Some verses are so clear and 
evident that any one who knows the language can easily 
understand their meaning that is why the question of any 
difference of opinion in the exegesis of these verses does 
not arise. The source of exegesis of such verses is "Arabic 
lexicon". Except for an expert view of Arabic language and 
common sense, nothing is needed to understand them. 4 

The other type comprises verses that are 
comprehensive in meaning and in which there is some 
ambiguity or difficulty in explanation or, in order to 
grasp thier meaning, it is necessary to study the 
background in which they were revealed. Or. they deal 
with delicate legal questions or deep unknown facts and 
knowledge. Only a knowledge of Arabic language is not 
sufficient to comprehend such verses, but other 
information is needed to derive their proper exegesis. 
In the following lines the exegesic sources of these type 

4: pjt.... Ju^^L.o 3 .... JiJl^^ii^U^,— iJijOf-Olj^lj 

Al-Burhah, ZarkashT, v2, pi 71, chapter 41. and Al-Itqah . v2. 
pi 83. chapter 78. 

344 All approach to the Quranic sciences 

of verses are described. 

Keeping this in view, there are six sources of the 
exegesis or Tafslr of the Quran. They are, the 

1: Quran itself, 

2: Prophetic Traditions, 

3: Sayings of the Companions ^s- J^>^^>_), 

4: Sayings of the followers of Companions, 

5: Arabic Lexicon and 

&. Common sense. 

Here, we present some details of each of these sources 
and their position in the science of Tafslr. 



1 : The first source of exegesis of the Quran is the Quran 
itself, that is, sometimes its verses explain each other. 
Something is left unsaid in a verse but said in detail in 
another verse. For example, it is said in Al-Fatihah: 

Guide us Thou to the straight way. the way' of those 
whom Thou hast blessed. (AI-FatNiah. 1:6-7) 

It is not clear in this verse as to who are the blessed 
people? But at another place it is stated: 

They are with those whom Allah has blessed — of the 
Prophets, and the truthful, and the martyrs, and the 
righteous. (An-Nisa, 4:69) 

Similarly, it is stated in a verse: 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 345 

*> . *^' 

Then "S"dam received certain words (of revelatoin) from 
his Lord, and He relented towards him.(Al-Baqarah, 2:37) 

It is not revealed what those words were? They have 
been identified in another verse: 

yfk \m/ 3 U 'jiS jj t)fj \x~Jt\ bilk bo UU 

They (Adam and yawwa) said: We have wronged 
ourselves, and if Thou forgivest us not, and hath not mercy 
on us, we shall surely be among the losers. (Al-'Araf, 7:23) 

Further, at another place it is stated: 

t > \- n ' \ * >i— 

o yaw!*!! Jm r/jT, iui »^-i ij^i yaji t$ts 

O you who have believed! Fear Allah, and be with the 
truthful ones. (At-Tawbah, 9:119) . 

This verse does not tell us who the truthful people are. 
They are identified in another verse: 

^J\j &£&, asSiOj ^Ul fjfrj aJJU &A & *J\ 

J+j iiiUJi fiif'j &&J& J 3 ciS^J £p* oft 

iiSjfj r/x* yii ajSjf ^tii ^.j ^sjtj && 

^ -• • -** ii * ' 

346 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

It is not virtue that you turn your faces to the East and 
to the West, but true virtue is of hirn who believes in 
Allah, and the Last Day, and the angels and the Book 
(Divine revelations), and the Prophets, and gives his 
wealth, for love of Him to the kinderd, and to orphans, 
and the needy, and the wayfarer, and to those who ask 
and to set slaves free, and (of him who) establishes the 
Salah and pays the Zakah, and of those who fulfil their 
covenant when they covenant one, and are persevering in 
distress and affliction, and in the time of conflict. Those 
are they who are the truthful, and those- they are the 
God-fearing. (Al-Baqarali. 2: 1 77) 

This verse has made it clear that by "Truthful people" 
are meant those who possess the foregoing virtues. 

There are several other examples in the Quran but the 
three mentioned here may suffice. 
1 : The Quran is explained from the Quran itself through 

another recital that clarifies what is not clear from the 

first recital. 

For example, in the verse describing the method of 
ablution, according to one recital it is read. 

'r&ss-j y~iii i\&& J\ *£j lij t£& -J\ ^frj 
J •<&.% -£jft &cXj &j& J *JS& 


Wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows and 
wipe your heads, and (wash) your feet up to the 
ankles... (Al-Ma'idah. 5:6) 

According to Arabic grammar, it may also be translated 
wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows and wipe 
your heads and your feet up to the ankles. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 347 

But in another recital the word ( *^j£j* (Arjulakum) has 
been used instead of pQr^ (Arjulikum) which can only 
mean "and wash your feet". Hence the second recital 
clarifies that the same is meant in the first recital as well 
and it cannot mean to wipe the feet. 

Thus an exegesis of the Quran based on uninterrupted 
recitals shall be reliable and certain. Although authentic 
recitals do not provide a knowledge that is certain yet they 
have a great importance in exegesis, but opinions about 
the rare recitals are divided. Some commentators attach 
no importance to them while some accept them as related 
by an individual alone in exegesis. This question is dealt 
with in detail in the Books of Fiqh. 

3: Another form of "Exegesis of the Quran by the Quran, 
is to take into consideration the context of the verse 
under study. In this way the complex verse is 
sometimes explained. For example, in Surah Al-Ahzab 
the Prophet's wives are addressed in these words: 

And stay in your houses, and display not your 
adornment like the displaying of the (time of) former 

pagansim. (Al-Ahza"b, 33:33) 

Seeing that this is addressed to the wives of the 
Prophet^ those who are ignorant of the principles of 
Shari'ah have claimed that the commandment for Hijab 
(Veil) was applicable exclusively to the wives of the 
Prophet «$£, and that it did not apply to other women in 
general. But the context of the Quran belies this claim. 
There are many other comrnadments addressed to the wives 
of the Prophet <$g in the verses that precede and follow. For 
example the commands are: do not be complaisant of 
speech, speak of virtue, establish Sala"h, pay Zakah, and 

348 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

obey Allah and His Messenger >$&, 

No sane person can say that any of these commands is 
exclusively meant for the wives of the Prophet $g and other 
women are not obliged to obey them. Hence to pick out just 
one sentence out of the text that gives so many commands 
and to assert that it does not apply to other women, is 
contrary to the contents of the other verses and Afyadith. 
The fact is that all these commands have a general 
application for all women. The specific mention of the 
wives of the Prophet M is meant only to reflect their 
greater responsibility and to express that they are under 
greater obligation to obey the Commands of Allah. 

Similarly, it is stated in another verse: 


And when you ask them (the wives of the Prophet) of any 
good, ask them from behind a curtain. (Al-Abzab. 3353) 

Some ignorant people have said about this verse too, 
that it applies exclusively to the wives of the Prophet *$| 
although the next phrase of this same verse clarifies that 
this command has a general application for all women. It 

This is purer for your hearts and their hearts. 

(Al-Ahzab. 33:53) 

Obviously, to gain purity of heart is not limited to the 
wives of the Holy Prophet M alone but all Muslim women 
should gain it. Hence, the command given in this verse 
cannot be regarded as exclusive for some particular 
women. 5 

5: There are many more explicit reasons supporting the contention 
that the command of IHEijab is universal but we have limited 
ourselves here to the context of the verse. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 349 

Similarly, there is another verse of Surah Al-Ahzab, 
that states: 

Allah only desires to take away from you all 
abomination, O people of the household (of Muhammad) 
and to purify you with a thorough purifying. 

(Al-Ahzab, 33:33) 

Some people conclude from this verse that the people of 
the household includes the children etc of the Prophet M 
and not his wives. But the context of the Quran clearly 
refutes this idea, because the verses preceding and 
following this verse throughout address the wives of the 
Prophet M- Then how may they be excluded from the term 
people of the household? The next verse particularly states: 

And remember that which is recited (by the Prophet) in 
your houses (Al-Ahzab, 33:34) 

The word Ojj (houses) in this verse signifies that 
people of the household includes the holy wives primarily 
and they cannot be separated from the meaning of the 


These are only a few examples. If we ponder over the 
Quran we will learn that many of the exegetical issues are 
solved through a reference to the verses of the Quran. 
Sometimes an exposition of a verse in this manner makes it 
so clear that a reasonable person will not refute it. Such an 
exegesis is final and certain. Sometimes, however, an 
exegesis made through a reference to the context is not so 
certain. Hence the commentators and other scholars may 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

differ on it. 

This was a short introduction to the "Exegesis of the 
Quran by the Quran. " Some exegetics have expounded the 
entire Quran in this manner in which every verse has been 
explained with the help of some other verse of the Quran. 
One such exegesis is by 'A 11 amah Ibn JauzT and 'All amah 
SuyutT has mentioned it in his book Al-Itqan. 6 

Another valuable contribution of the same pattern is the 
recent effort of a scholar of Madinah, Sheikh Muhammad 
AmTn bin Muhammad Mukhtar ShanqTtT. The book is 
named Adwa-ul-bayan fi Tdah-il -Quran bil Quran. In the 
Foreword of this book he has given the various forms of 
"Exegesis of the Quran" with great clarity and details. 7 



The second source of exegesis of the Quran are the 
traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad £§. The Quran 
has clarified at many places that the real purpose of sending 
him in this world was for him to explain the Quranic verses 
through his words and deeds: 

-* fJ'O QS 

And We have now revealed to you (O Prophet) the 
Admonition that you may make clear to mankind what 
has been revealed unto them. (An-Nahl, 16:44) 

In this verse Allah has made it clear that the purpose of 
his advent was to explain the Quran. It further says: 


of.- o a , 

* 9 0_> 

> * 

6: Al-Itqan v2, p. 175. 

7: vL pp7-37. Printed at Darul IsphahanT, Jaddah, 1378 AH. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 351 

Certainly Allah has conferred a favour on the Believers 
when He sent among diem a Messenger from 
themselves, who recites to them His revelations, and 
purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the 
wisdom, though before that they were certainly in 
manifest error. (Al-Imran, 3:164^ 

Further, it has been stated in Surah An-Nisa. 

m-j'c* ^hti ^; ^4 jkJL c^iiA &$\'\2$\3\ 

Surely We have revealed the Book to you (O Prophet) 
with truth, so that you may judge between people by 
means of what Allah has shown you. (An-Nisa, 4:105) 

And We have not revealed the Book to you except that 
you may make clear to them that wherein they differ, 
and as a guidance and mercy to a people who believe. 

(An-Nahl, 16:64) 

In these verses the Quran makes itself clear that the 
purpose of sending the Prophet M in this world was only 
that he may teach the people the guidance of the Quran and 
its deep knowledge and thereby guide them how to live 
properly. Hence it is proved from the Quran itself that the 
Prophet's M teachings are a significant source of exegesis 
of the Qurjin. 

Even otherwise it does not call for a lengthy reasoning 
to stress that the correct meanings of the Book may best be 

352 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

explained by the one on whom it has been revealed. There 
can be no one more stupid than the one who claims, that 
the, exegesis is better known to him than the Prophet M to 
whom the Quran was revealed. 

Some people try to create a confusion that the 
importance of the Prophet's HI sayings cannot be denied 
but we cannot rely upon them as they have not reached us 
through authentic sources. 

But this type of thinking casts aspersion on Allah that 
on the one hand He has sent the Prophet $$$ as the Teacher 
of the Quran that every Muslim was obliged to follow till 
the Last Day, but on the other hand, He made no 
arrangement to preserve his teachings and explanations. 
Can such a thing be said by one who believes in the eternal 
wisdom and supreme authority of Allah, and who has read 
the following verse of the Quran? 

Allah does not charge a soul save to its capacity. 

(Al-Baqarah, 2:286) 

Some people go to the extent of saying that the 
Prophet 5H was the Teacher of the Quran as long as he 
lived but in our times his teachings are not needed. (I seek 
forgiveness of Allah for narrating it). This is to say that 
the Companions j^Ai^j needed a Prophet to teach 
them the Quran although Arabic was their mother tongue, 
they were aware of the nuance and idiomatic use of the 
words, and they not only knew the revelationary 
background but in fact passed through it and they 
witnessed the causes of revelation of each verse. As 
against that people of our times whose mother tongue is 
not Arabic who do not go through the environment of 
revelation and the revelationary background claim that 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 353 

they do not need the guidance of a Prophet to learn the 
exegesis of the Quran. Can any reasonable and just man 
swallow such absurd notions? 

How reliable are the means through which the 
teachings of the Prophet $£ have reached us is a very 
detailed subject of study. Libraries have vast collections 
of literature on the subject of Hadith and Asnia'ur'Rijal 
(the names and character of men). It is a different matter, 
to hunt for excuses to satisfy personal bents but if these 
subjects are studied with a sincere motive and unbiased 
mind one cannot resist drawing the conclusion that Allah 
has not made the teachings of the Prophet ^ obligatory 
without ensuring its preservation in a manner that is 
beyond human imagination. Leaving aside the other 
branches of the science of liadith, if we just go through 
the subject of Asma-ur-Rijafi an achievement of the 
people of which they may feel proud we will see that it 
has no parallel among any other people. Every fjladith 
from the times of the Prophet $g till today is well 
recorded in relevant Books with full information of its 
analysis and the narrator. It includes details on his birth, 
his education and lessons on Hadith which of the narrators 
he had met, his general character, the state of his 
memory, the cautions he exercised in narrating a IJadith 
and the opinion in which he was held by his contemporary 
scholars and those after that time? These books exist even 
today and if anybody desires to find answers to these 
questions, he may go throgh the pages of these books and 
the answer will be there. 

We do not intend to initiate a detailed discussion on the 
preservation of Fladith because a vast literature on this 

8: The term literally means "Names of the people" but in religious 
terminology of Islam it is applied for "Names and characters of 
the narrators of Ifadith." 

3S4 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

subject already exists and can be consulted for this purpose. 
However, we wish to point out that there is no logic in 
denying the use of the Traditions o\' the Prophet ^ for an 
exegesis of the Quran whether viewed through the Quran, 
common sense and historical events or through any other 
rightful method. 

However, it is true that in today's vast collection of 
Traditions we find authentic as well as unsound narrations. 
Therefore, before taking a decision on the basis of a 
narration found anywhere, one must thoroughly verify the 
narration on the basis of relevant principles. The scrutiny of 
those narrations found in the books of exegesis is 
particularly essential because most of the commentators 
have just collected all sorts of traditions in their book 
without bringing their research and investigation into 
discussion in the Traditional manner. Hence only such 
persons can benefit from them who hold an expert view on 
the Science of Hadith and its related subjects and who 
know the principles of picking out the authentic from the 
unsound narrations. 



It is the Companions of the Holy Prophet ^ who learnt 
the Quran directly from him. Some of them had devoted 
their entire lives to learn the Quran, its exegesis and related 
knowledge directly from the sayings and deeds of the 
Prophet ^. Their language was Arabic, and they were fully 
aware of the enviroment of revelation of the Quran. Rather 
than rely on their linguistic excellence they learnt the Quran 
verse by verse from the Prophet J$g. Imam Abu 'Abdur 
Rahman SulmT a renowned Tabi fc T (epigone) scholar said: 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 355 

•yi -OlJ\ jup j JLop ^ jLJjtT Otyil o ^ cyL t^lfT ^AJi LJ-L^- 


Those (of the Companions) who used to teach the 
Quran, such as Sayyidina 'Uthnian bin 'Aftfah *^& and 
Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud «$&> and others told us 
thai they did not proceed further with their lessons 
until they had learnt ten verses from the Prophet $£g 
and until they had received all knowledge and practical 
applications related to it. 9 

This is why Sayyidina Anas •<*&> has been reported in 
Musnad Ahmad to have said: 

When some one had learnt Surah Al-Baqarah and 

Surah Al-'Imran he was regarded very highly in our eyes. 10 

And it is narrated in Mu'~ atta Imam Malik that: 


'Abdullah bin *Umar took eight years to memorise 
Surah Al-Baqarah } x 

Obviously Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin 'Umar •upiat^j did 
not have such a weak memory as to take eight years just to 
memorise the words of this Surah. It took him so long 
actually to learn the interpretation and other relevant 
knowledge alongwith memorising the words. 

9: Al-Itqan, v2, pi 76 Chapter 78 
10: Al-Itqan v2,p 176 Chapter 78 
11: Al-Itqan v2,pl76. Chapter 78 

156 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

And Sayyidina "Abdullah bin Mas'ud lias said^^ 


JL; ^ aUi ^l^ ^.i u^i ^ ^ ^ ^ tj ^ 

By the Being except whom there is none worthy of 
worship, no verse of the Quran is revealed about which 
I do not know where and for whom it was revealed. And 
if I hear of anyone who knows the Book of Allah more 
than me and the means of transport is available to me I 
would certainly go to him. 12 

Hence, after the traditions of the Holy Prophet M the 
third source of exegesis of the Quran are the statements of 
the Companions who had devoted time and effort to learn 
it. But even here certain factors must be kept in view. 
1 : Even in the exegetic sayings of the Companions &\ ^>> 
?#*■ we come across authentic as well as unsound 
narrations. Hence, they too must be scrutinised on the 
principles of Hadith before placing any reliance on them. 
2: Sayings of the Companions 4k> would be cited only 
when an explicit commentary of a verse by the Holy 
Prophet ^ is not available through authentic means. If 
such an explanation is found in the authentic traditions, 
the statements of the Compnanions ^iii^j will 
only have a supportive value, but if any of these 
statements differ from the Prophetic tradition, it shall 
not be acceptable. 
3: Vhen there is no explanation available from the Holy 
Prophet M and there exists no difference in the various 
explanations of the Companions 4& their view would 

12: TafsTr Ibn KathTr, vl. p3. 

in approach to the Quranic sciences 357 

be adopted. 
4: When there are differences in the various exegesis 
given by the Companions and if harmony can be 
brought about among them then it would be adopted. 
But if it is not possible to harmonise them we then 
shall adopt an exegsis which an adept scholar deduces 
from them through established reasoning. 13 



Scholars differ whether the sayings of a Tabi fc T can be a 
conclusive argument in exegesis or not? Ibn KathTr has 
stated that if a Tahi'T has reported an exegesis from a 
Companion it will have the same status as that of a 
Companion. But if he gives his own interpretation then it 
will be seen whether another Tabi'T differs from him. If 
that is so, his interpretation will not be acceptable and 
conclusion will be drawn on the basis of other sources of 
exegesis. If no difference exists among the Tabi'Tn their 
opinion will be acceptable without doubt. 


It has been asserted earlier that the only source for 
interpretation of a Quranic verse will be the Arabic 
language if its meaning is clear, and no ambiguity, doubt or 
confusion exists, nor any historical background is required 
to understand it. But when one is faced with ambiguity or 
deeper sense or religious laws are being drawn from the 
verse, interpretation may not be made by means of Arabic 

13: This principle in summarised from AI-Burhan v2, pi 72. and 
Al-Itqan v2. pp!76-178. 

*** A " approach to the Quranic sciences 

Lexicon alone. In such a situation the basic sources of 
exegesis would be the Quran itsell. Prophetic Traditions 
and statements of the Companions *#* Jw di ^_> an d the 
TabrTn. Only after that will recourse be had to the Arabic 
language because Arabic is a very vast language and its 
words are used in several meanings, and a single sentence 
may be interpreted in several ways. Hence any inference 
drawn on the basis of language also may result in 
confusion. That is why some authorities reject language 
alone as a source of exegesis. Imam Muhammad 4a**Jrt**»»j 
is reported to have said that he considers an exegesis 
through lexicon to be undersirable. But Alllmah ZarkashT 
states that Imam Muhammad did not mean to ignore the 
role of lexicon in the Science of F.xegesis altogether, but he 
meant that it is not permitted to choose vague meanings in 
preference to the most apparent and appropriate 
mterpertations. Evidently, the Quran has been revealed on 
the idiom of the language of the Arabs. Hence whenever 
the Quran and Haciith or sayings of the Companions iii^j 
(•** do not offer an interpretation of a verse, it would be 
interpreted in the light of the idiom of the language, choice 
of vague meanings derived from Arabic poetry but not used 
in ordinary conversation is totally wrong, although found in 
dictionaries. 14 

This may be understood through an example. 
The Quran states that when Banu IsraTl asked 
Sayyidina Musa *®: for water, Allah gave him the order: 

And strike with your staff (he rock. 
If this sentence is spoken before any Arabic knowing 
person he would clearly understand from it that it is a 

14: Al-Burhan, v2. pi 6. 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 359 

command to strike the staff against the stone, and it would 
be a valid interpretation of this sentence. But, Sir Syed 
Ahmad Khan has claimed on the basis of vague usages of 
the language that this sentence means. "Walk on this rock 
with the support of your staff." 15 Here the meaning of the 
word v^ 1 (strike) has been taken as walk instead of strike 
and that of y^^ (stone or rock). This meaning is imposed 
because even if a vague reference is available in the books 
of language the normal ussage rejects it altogether. 16 Imam 
Ahmad has said that it is forbidden to draw such 
interpretations on linguistic grounds. No sane person can 
subscribe to it, either. 



In fact, common sense is needed for every thing in this 
world, and, obviously, it is required to draw interpretation 
from the above mentioned five sources also. But we wish to 
point it out as a constant sources of exegesis. The Quran is 
an endless ocean of deep mystic meanings. By means of the 
above five sources its subjects can. of course, be 
understood to the extent required but as far as its mysteries 
and commands are concerned, it can never be said that a 
climax has been reached and there is no room for any 
further deliberation. On the contrary, the door to ponder 
over and deliberate on its inner meanings shall remain open 
till the Last Day. And whoever has been blessed with 
insight and fear of Almighty Allah may discover ever new 

15: Tafsir ul Oman, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, vi . p9i . Lahore. 

16: We have quoted him here by way of example alone otherwise his 
explanation does not rind support in language too. There are 
some errors on that point also to for example when used to imply 
walk wj-* «s followed by J ( j?ji\ J» ^^ M\ » whieh is not found 

360 Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 

realities. This is why the commentators in every age have 
made additions to this chapter according to their 
undersanding. This is exactly what the Prophet ^ meant 
when he prayed for Sayyidina 'Abdullah Inn "Abbas 4&> in 
these words: 

O Allah! Bestow on him the Sciences of Exegesis and 
Comprehension of religion. 17 

But it should be remembered in this connection that 
only such realities and deeper meanings drawn through 
reasoning shall be reliable as do not clash with other 
religious principles and the foregoing five sources. If 
anything is deduced by disregerding the rules of exegesis, it 
will have no standing in religion. 

17: Al-Burhan v. 2 p 161. 



After getting acquainted with authentic and reliable 
sources of the Science of Exegesis it seems essential to 
point out the unreliable sources. These have led many a 
people to grave misunderstandings and they have cited them 
as the basis of their commentaries. These sources are: 

1) ISRATLIYYAT or judaic a 

These are narratives that have reached us through Jews 
and Christians. Some of these have been taken directly 
from Bible or Talmud and some from Mishnah 18 and their 
commentaries some are the words of mouth which were 
being transferred from one to another of the people of the 
Book, and were popular among the Jews and Christians of 
Arabia. A vast many of such stories are yet found in the 
existing books of exegesis. The renowned researcher and 
commentator Ibn KathTr has stated that there are three kinds 
of such narrations, and each kind has to be dealt with in a 

different way. 

i) IsraTliyats that have been verified as true by other 
authentic sources. For example, the drowning of 
Fir'aun (Pharoah), the contest of Sayyidina Musa &$l 
with the magicians and his ascent on the Mount Sinai 

18: A collection of precepts and customs embodying Jewish oral law. 

362 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

etc. are reliable narrations because they are 
authenticated by the Quran and Hadith. 

ii) Isra'Tliyats that have been proved to be false by other 
arguments, for instance, the story that Sayyidina 
Sulayman & had become an apostate in his later years 
(God forbid). 19 This narration is absolutely false 
because the Quran explicity refuted it. Similarly is the 
blatant lie about Sayyidina Dawood W* that he 
committed adultery with the wife of his general 
Uriah. 20 

iii) Israi'lyats which are neither proved to be correct nor 
false through arguments. Such as the injunction of 
Torah, and so on. About them the Prophet §$ has said: 

Neither confirm them nor falsify them. 

It is permissible to mention such narrations, but neither 
a religious tenet can be based on them nor can they be 
confirmed or refuted. It is of no benefit to cite these 
narrations either, tfafiz Ibn KathTr 21 Upiiii^^ has stated 
that the Quran itself teaches us how to deal with such 
narrations. It says: 

* * a 

O lO^t" ^Xa ^3 <.z.a-..J Uj \jfi\& J^ 



Bible. Book of the kings 11:2-13. 
Ibid. Samuel 13:14. 

TafsTr Ibn KathTr, Muqaddama v 1 . p4 and Usui ut TatsTr, Ibn 
Taymiyyah p33. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 363 

(Some) will say. They were three, the fourth of them 
was their dog and (some) say. "Five the sixth of them 
was their dog. conjecturing about the unseen. And (some 
others) said. "Seven, and the eighth of them was their 
dog. Say "My Lord knows best their number — none 
knows them but a few. so contend not concerning them 
but with an outward contention; and ask any of them for 
a pronouncement on them." (Al-Kahf. 18:22) 

In this verse Allah has mentioned different IsraTlite 
versions current among the people of the Book about the 
number of the Cave Dwellers. He has also laid down these 

1: Describing the Isra'Tli narrations and their differences 

are permissible. 
2: Those of the narrations that have been proved false 

must be rejected as has been done by Allah refuting the 

first two by saying ^-AJb u*-j (conjecturing about the 


3: Nothing should be said about the version which is not 

proved false. Allah has done so about the third 

4: Our belief about the truth or falsehood of these versions 

should be that the real knowledge rests with Allah. 
5: We must refrain from engaging in unneassary debate 

on these narrations. 
6: It is not proper to probe into the veracity of these 

narrations because it will be a futile exercise. One 

does not stand to gain anything in this world or the 


Some narrations are evidently Isr'ailite but it is not so 
apparent about the others, and it is so determind through 
other evidences. Most of the narrations reported by Ka'b 
al-Ahbar and Wahh bin MunabbTh and mentioned in the 

364 An approach to (he Quranic sciences 

books of exegesis belong to this category. Hence it seems 
appropriate to know about something of these persons. 


His full name was Ka'b bin Mati' al Himyari but was 
popularly known by the title of Ka'b-al-Ahbar or Ka'b 
ul-Hibr. He belonged to Yemen and had a high plaee among 
the Jewish Scholars. He lived in the pie-prophetic dark era as 
well as the Prophetic days but could not embrace Islam 
during the life-time of the Prophet ^. In the Year 12 A.H., 
during the caliphate of Sayyidina Umar ^> he came to 
Madinah and embraced Islam. It has been reported in 
Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd that Sayyidina Ibn "Abbas *s^ asked him, 
'Why did he not embrace Isalm in the days of the Prophet?" 
He replied, "My father had given a manuscript of Torah and 
advised me to follow it. He had sealed all other books so that 
I may not read them, and also took a pledge from me on the 
plea of paternity that I would not break those seals. But when 
Islam began to spread all over the world I thought my father 
might have tried to conceal some important knowledge from 
me. and I broke the seals and studied those books. In them I 
found the mention of Muhammad and his people, and 
accepted Islam." 22 

Ka'b al-Ahbar *-U *iii ;u*-j has generally been regarded 
as reliable but 'All amah Muhammad Zahid al-KawtharT has 
expressed doubts on the basis of some of his narrations. 
For instance, when Sayyidina 'Umar *£& intended to build 
the Masjid Al-Aqsa. he sought the opinion of the people 
whether it should be built in front of the Sakhrah Baitul 
Maqdis or behind it? Ka*b-al-Ahba~r advised him to 
construct it behind the Mosque Sakhrah. On this Sayyidina 
'Umar *$fc said, "Son of a Jew woman, the influence of 

22: *jy^Jti {Al-KawtharT has commented on ihe authenticity of this 
narration.} Maqalat Al-KawiharT p32. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 365 

Judaism has still not worn out over you. I shall construct it 
in front of Sakhrah so that Sakhrah is not faced by Muslims 
during Sal*ah." Zahid Al-KawtharT has written that Ka'b 
al-Ahbar kept grudge against Sayyidina tlmar 4$k> after this 
incident, so much so, that he was seen in company with 
those people who killed Sayyidina 'Umar ^. Before the 
incident he had warned Sayyidina fc Umar 4$k> with reference 
to some inscriptions in the books of Jews and Christians 
that he ('Umar) would be killed. After quoting all such 
evidences, 'Allamah al-Kawthari has written: 

"On looking at these separate events, it becomes 
evident that Sayyidina fc Umar ^, Abu Zarr 
Ibn- fc Abbas, Awf bin Malik and Mu'awiyah did 
not fully trust Ka fc b al-Ahbar." 23 

There may be grounds for a difference with 'All amah 
al-Kawthari when he casts doubts on Ka fc b al-Ahbar 
especially when we see them in the light of the sayings of 
the Companions, 24 but one thing is certain that most of 
Ka'b's narrations are Israelites and they cannot be relied 
upon unless confirmed through other sources. 


He also came from Sana in Yemen and was Persian by 
origin. He is also one of those to whom many Israiliyats 
are attributed. He has been reported to have been born 
during the Caliphate of Sayyidina 'Uthman 4$fe. 25 His 
father, had embraced Islam during the days of the Prophet 
rH. Wahb bin Munabbih was a pious Tabi'T and he was an 
ascetic. He has reported from Abu Hurayrah, Abu Sa'Td 

23: Maqalat al-Kawthari pp33-34, article on Ka'b al-Ahbar and 

24: The Research scholar of Egypt Doctor Ramzi Na'na'f has rejected 

these doubts. (Al-IsrailiyyatUu»-atharuha fit TafsTr, pp. 172-183, 

Beirut 1970). 
25: Tazkirat al-huffaz, vl, pIOl 

366 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Khudri, 'Abdullah bin 'Umar, Ibn "Abbas and Jabir A'^j 
rffi Jba. He had a vast knowledge, gained from the 
scholars of the people of the Book, their books and 
narrations. He considered himself to be equal in knowledge 
to 'Abdullah bin Salam and Ka'h al-AhbaY together. 
According to Imam Ibn Sa'd he had also published a book 
named Al.iad.ith ul-Anbiya containing all those narrations. 26 
al-Mas'udi has mentioned that Wahb had written a book 
named Al-Mabda. 11 

It is perhaps this very book that #ajT KhalTfah has 
referred to as Kitab ul Isra'lliyyat in his Kashfuz Zimlin. 28 
Yaqut al Hamawi and Ibn Khallikan have credited him with 
another book named Zikrul Muluk-al-Maffuhah Min 
Himyar-wa-Akhbaruhum xvaglmir Zalik. Ibn Khallikan had 
seen the book. 29 

The Traditionalists and research scholars have not 
questioned his trustworthiness. Hafiz ZahabT *Js- Uui Sue-j 
says, "He was reliable and truthful, but reported a great 
deal from Israelite books." Imam Abu Zar'ah and Imam 
Nasa'T have called him as "Reliable". Imam 'IjlT has said, 
"Wahb was a reliable Tabi'7." Only Imam Amr bin Ali 
al-Falas has considered him as "weak" not because he 
doubted Wahb's truthfulness and trustworthiness but the 
reason was that in the early period Wahb was inclined 
towards the Qadriyy ah beliefs. Imam Ahmad has stated that 
Wahb had later repented from his misgivings. Abu Sinan 
has quoted Wahb himself that he had subscribed to Qadri 
beliefs but later relented. 30 

26: Tabqat Ibn Sa'd v7, p97. 

27: Murawwaj az-Zahabi vS, pi 27. 

28: Dr 'Abdul Aziz ad-Dawn Behath ff Nashati 'Ilmut Ta"rTkh 

pi 14. 
29: Mua'jam al-Udaba', HamawT v6, p. 222 and wafyat al'Ayan, Ibn 

Khallikan. v2, pi 80. 
30: TahzTb ui TahzTb vl 1 , pi 68. 

Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 367 

It is obvious from this discussion that none of the 
scholars of Hadlth has ever doubted his truthfulness, 
trustworthiness and reliability. It was on this basis that both 
Bukhari and Muslim have included his narrations in their 
books. Hence the narrations which he has attributed to the 
Prophet «^g shall be accepted if precedences conform to the 
principles of the Science of Hadith. However, his stories of 
the past and predictions about the future described without 
authentic references are mostly Israelites which we have been 
directed neither to confirm nor to deny. Some authors of the 
present time, for instance, Sayyid Rasheed Raza have 
regarded him as a "weak" narrator on the basis of his strange 
Israelite narrations. But the fact is that just mentioning the 
Judaic is no crime. It is. however, a different matter that 
Islamic dogma and commands cannot be based on them. 31 


Ka'b al-Ahbar and Wahb bin Munabbih are among the 
Tabi'Tn and most of the Israelite narrations have been 
reported by them. Among the Companions probably most 
of Isra'iliyats have been reported by 'Abdullah bin 'Amr.' 
The reason is that he had thoroughly learnt the Syrian 
language 32 and at that time many of the books of Jews and 
Christians could be had in the Syrian, language. After the 
battle of Yarmuk he got such a large number of those 
books which formed two camel loads. He has reported 
several traditions from the Holy Prophet M too but they 
have no connection with Isra'iliyat. In fact, if they stand the 
test of authentic narrations they should be accepted just as 
the Afjadith of other Companions. However, the narrations 
cited by him from Judaica shall neither be confirmed nor 

31: The view of Sayyid Rasheed Raza and others is duly rejected by 

Dr. RamzT Na'na'in Israiliyyat wa Atharuha fit TafsTr, pi 88. 
32: Tabaqat Ibn Sad v4 p261 . 

36$ An approach to the Quranic sciences 

denied. Similarly, the narrations reported as his own adages 
seem to be Isra'iliyats and cannot form the basis of Islamic 
beliefs. An Egyptan rejector of ftadith. Abu Raiyyah has 
levelled a baseless accussation on 'Abdullah bin 'Amr in his 
book Adwa* 'Alas Sunnat il Muhammadiyah that he 
sometimes attributed Israelite narrations towards Prophet 
Muhammad M- This allegation is absolutely wrong and 
exposes the dishonest intentions of Abu Raiyyah. He has 
based his allegation on the following phrase of Hafiz Ibn 
Hajar from his book Fath-ul-Bari: 

'Abdullah Bin 'Amr had obtained two camel loads of 
books of the People of the Book. He used to narrate to 
people from these books by attributing them towards the 
Prophet gS. That is why many of the Tabi'7 scholars 
avoided citing him and people used to say to him not to 
relate to them anything of the two camel loads." 33 

In this phrase the underlined sentence in italics is not 
found in Ibn Hajar's Fath-ul-Bar7. Abu Raiyyah has 
inserted this sentence on his own and attributed it to Ibn 
Hajar. One can easily see through the rejectors of Ahadith 
western-minded authors. 34 

33: Fath-ul-Bari vl,pl66. 

34: An outright rejection of the stand of Abu Raiyyah may be 
observed in al_Sunnatal lahi deen Doctor Ajjaj al-khateeb and 
al-Israiliyyat wa-thir-ha fi kitabit TafsTr Dr Ramzi Na'na'ah. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 369 


Certain words of the honourable sufTs about the verse 
of the Quran which may seem to be an exegesis but those 
words contradict the obvious meanings. For instance, the 
Quran says. 

f* » 

Fight those of the disbelievers who gird around you. 

(At-Tawbah. 9:123) 
About it some SufTs have said 

"Fight your soul because it is nearest to man." 

Some people have taken such sentences as 
interpretations of the Quran, but in fact they are not so. 
The Sufis never meant that these represent the actual 
intentions of the Quran and not the meanings that are 
apparent. Rather they have full faith in the apparent 
meanings proved from its original sources and admit this to 
be the true interpretation of the Quran, but alongwith it 
they also give vent to the ecstatic feelings they sense during 
the recital of the verse. Hence, the SufTs do not say that the 
foregoing verse does not advocate jihad against the 
unbelievers. What they mean to express is that while the 
verse in fact calls on us to fight the unbelievers, at the same 
time it tells us that nearest enemy is his own soul that 
repeatedly prompts him to commit evil. Hence, he must 
engage in Jihad with it also at the same time as he is bound 
to wage Jihad with the disbelievers. 

We find a large number of such intuitive interpretations 
of the SufTs in the Exegesis of renowned commentator 
'Allamah Mahmud Alusi. He has explained the views of 

370 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

the Sufis in the following words: 

"The deliberations reported from the Sufis in connection 
with the Quran in fact point 10 these deep and tine 
disclosures that they read in it. These disclosures are 
truly based on the apparent meaning. The SulTs do not 
believe that the apparent meanings are to be ignored 
against intuitive meanings because this is the belief of 
the Baiiniyyah apostates who have adopted it as stepping 
stone to negate the Laws of Islam. Our mystics have 
nothing to do with this belief, and it cannot be, because 
they insist that the apparent meanings of the Quran must 
be adopted first." 35 

But, the following considerations must be kept in mind 
in regard to such deliberations of the mystics. 
I: These deliberations should not be regarded as exegesis 
Of the Quran, we should believe that the true exegesis 
of the Quran is the one that is apparent from its real 
source, and these deliberations are just intuitive 
deductions which cannot be regarded as exegesis 
without going astray. Imam "Abdur Rahman Sulmi 
-uip^i^j had written a book, FlaqTi'iqut Tafslr which 
consisted of such deliberations. Imam WahidT &\ w-j 
*J* has said about it that, "whoever believes that this is 
Tafsir would become an apostate." 36 
2: Of all such deliberations only those may be taken as 
correct which do not negate the apparent meanings of 
a verse or an established principle of Islamic Law. If 
the established rules and regulations of religion are 
defied under the guise of intuitive deliberations it is 

35: Ruh-ul-Ma fc ani vl^p7 Introduction. "AllaYnah SuylTti has 
reproduced the same material from Shaikh Tajuddin bin 
'Atauilah. (Al-Itqan, v2,pl85). 

36: Al-Itqan, v2,pl84. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 371 

open apostasy. 
3: Intuitions Of this kind would be reliable only so long as 
they do not interpolate the words of Quran. If anything 
is connoted by distorting the word of the Quran then 
that is also apostasy and a wavering from the path. For 
instance, take the verse. «jLLt ^JUui j^ (Who is he that 
shall intercede). Someone said about it that it is 
actually ^Li^^i Jij^ where kSb means "soul" giving the 
phrase the meaning. "Whoever shall disgrace the soul 
shall be cured. Remember it." When *Allamah 
Sirajuddin Baqillani was asked about it he said. "Such 
a person is a heretic." 37 
4: In the earlier times, there was a group of heritics 
named ' Batjniyyalf They claimed that in fact Allah did 
not mean what is understood in the Quran on the face 
of it, but every word points to an intrinsic meaning 
which is its true interpretation. Such a belief is 
unanimously regarded apostasy by the Ummah. Hence, 
it will amount to subscribing to the misconceived ideas 
of, "Batiniyyat" if we attribute such a belief to the 
deliberations of the SufTs. 

The deliberations of the mystics (SufTs) can be studied 
with due regard to these four cautionary notes. Indeed, 
some people having an ideal bent of mind have benefitted 
from these deliberations. That is why 'Allamah "AlusT has 
devoted an entire chapter named Bab-ul-lsharah fit Ayat 
in his TafsTr Ruhul Ma'anT in which he has mentioned 
such intuitions. 

To sum up, the intuitive deliberations made by the SufTs 
are not against the Quran or Sunnah. and to blame them for 
Bcitiniyah is not justified. In spite of that, we cannot resist 
quoting Ibn-us Salah: 

37: Itqan v2. p 184. 

372 Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 

fl^l -j* ^ U ^JJi ji^ tyUL-a (J jv^JLi jJJi> £._, 

"Despite this, how I wish these people had not been so 
careless in delving upon these delibertions because there 
is much possibility of creating misunderstanding and 
doubt through them. 38 


The Holy Prophet ^ has said. 

Whoever comments on the Quran on the basis of his 
own opinion and even if his opinion, is correct still he 
committed a mistake. 

'Allamah MawardT«U* i> i^j has stated that some I 

people with a mischievous bent of mind assert that this 
tradUion makes it unlawful to say anything about the 
Quran on the basis of one's opinion and thinking. They go 
to the extent in saying that even meanings cannot be 
derived at in accordance with the principles of Shari'ah. 1 

But this is a misconception because the Quran itself has 
described deliberations and deductions a praiseworthy 
effort. If restrictions are imposed on the thinking and 
deliberation, the door to deduce laws ami regulations from 
the Quran and Sunnah will be closed for ever. Hence this 
tradition does not intend to' restrict every kind of 
self-conceived opinion. 39 

There is a consensus among the scholars that, in the 
light of the Quran and Hadith, this tradition does not 

38: Al-Itqan v2, pi 84. 

39: Adopted from al-Itqan, v2, pi 80. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 373 

disallow one to think, deliberate and reason in studying the 
Quran. But an exegesis arrived at only by personal opinion 
and ignoring the established principles of exegesis of the 
Quran, shall be unlawful, and any person drawing 
conclusions in this manner shall be committing a sin even if 
his conclusions are correct because he took a wrong 
approach. There can be several ways in which a person 
may ignore the principles of exegesis. These are: 
1: Anyone who is not competent to talk about the exegesis 
of the Quran may interpret it through his own 

2: Anyone may ignore an explanation of a verse explicitly 
proved from the Prophet $jj& or his Companions and 
their followers (Tabi'In), and forward his own opinion 

as final. 
3: Someone may make an interpretation ignoring usage, 

literature and lexicon when an explicit interpretation 

from the companions and Tabi'In is not reported. 
4: Someone may extract rulings from the Quran although 

he is not competent to do so directly from the Quran 

and Haclith. 
5: Someone may infer from the verses of the Quran the 
meanings of which the Quran itself states that these are 
known to none but Allah alone and then stands by his 

6: He may draw an interpretation of the verses of the 
Quran which clash with other established belief and 

tenets of Islam. 

7: Where personal deliberation and deduction is 

permissible one may declare his own unsubstantiated 

opinion as conclusive and at the same time firmly 

negate the deliberations of other scholars. 

These are the possibilities of an exegesis on personal 

opinion which the foregoing Hadith declares illegal. All 

374 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

these possibilies are summed up in another saying of the 
Prophet Ife. 

Whoever says anything about the Quran wihtout 
knowledge* lei him make his place in the Fire (of 

However, if an opinion is expressed which is not 
against the Quran and Hadith and conforms to the 
principles of exegesis and established rules and regulations 
of Islam, it does not attract the wrath of this Hadith. But it 
must be undersood that such deliberations themselves are 
not possible without a deep knowledge of the Quran and 
Hadith and experience in Islamic Sciences. The scholars 
have laid down certain principles for this purpose, which 
form part of the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence and 
principles of exegesis. A very useful summary of these 
principles has been given by "Allamah Badruddin ZarkashT 
in his book AI-burliaii-ft-utTiiu-il-QiirTiii. in the 41st edition 
particularly under 'kinds of TafsTr". < PP 164-170) ' 

This entire discussion is very useful but one cannot 
benefit from it without a sound knowledge of Arabic and 
its sciences. Hence, we do not see any advantage in 
presenting its translation here. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 375 



While it is respectful and honourable to pursue, the 
science of exegesis (Tat"sTr),it is also dangerours to step 
into it The reason for that is that if anyone makes a 
wrong interpretation he would attribute towards Allah a 
thing which He has not said, and there can he no greater 
deviation than that. Those who expound the Quran 
without being properly qualified fall into the wrong path 
in spite of labouring much in the exercise. Hence, it is 
essential to have a view of the causes that mislead a man 
in the matter of exegesis of the Quran. 


The first and the most dangerous cause of erring off 
the path while engaging in the exegesis of the Quran is to 
impose one's opinion without assessing one's competence 
and ability. Lately, it is seen that this habit has assumed 
epidemic proportions. It has beome a common 
misconception that by being able to read Arabic one 
becomes a scholar on the Quran and can interpret the 
Quran as he understands it. It is worth observing that 
while there is no art or science in the world wherein a 
person becomes an expert only by virtue of his linguistic 
knowledge and ability yet this is ignored when dealing 
with the Quran. No sensible man would claim to have 
become a physician or surgeon simply because he has a 
full command on English language and play with the lives 
of his patients. Merely reading a book on medical science 
will not make anyone a doctor. Similarly, a person cannot 

376 Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 

claim to be an Engineer simply by reading books on 
Engineering, or lawyer merely by reading books on Law. 
If anybody claims to be a professional on this basis he 
will be termed a quack and an idiot because everyone 
knows that the arts and sciences cannot be achieved 
simply by being acquainted with the language and by self 
study. It needs years of hard work and tuition under 
expert teachers in the field leading through several 
examination conducted by institutions of learning. It is 
followed by practical experience under supervision and 
company of specialists. Only then one would be entitled to 
be called a beginner in the science. 

If this is the case with learning these arts and sciences 
how can anyone hope to become an expert in the science of 
exegesis of the Quran simply by knowing Arabic language? 
In the preceding pages, we have seen what vast a 
knowledge is required to be able to enter the domain of the 
science of Exegesis. The Quran is not a continuous book 
like other ordinary books where everything about one 
subject may be found at one place. Unlike all other books it 
has a unique and distinguished style. Hence, in order to 
fully understand the meaning of a verse it is necessary to 
keep in view its different recitals, other verses on the same 
subject and their related information, the revelationary 
background. It is also necessary to know the sayings of the 
Prophet $fe on which depends the interpretation of many 
verses. We shall have to find out if there is a deed or 
saying of the Prophet M that explains the verse, and if it 
stands the test of authenticity. Also one should know how 
the Companions understood this verse, and whether there 
was a consensus on it or a difference of opinion existed 
among them. In case of a difference of opinion how may 
that be solved? Further. Aarabic is a rich language, its 
words have many meanings and several synonyms. 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 377 

It is also essential to be familar with the idiom of that 
era to understand the meaning of the verse. Besides, the 
meaning of a verse, it is not sufficient to have a knowledge 
of only the literal meaning of a word because in Arabic 
language the meanings change with the change in 
grammatical composition and diactrical marks. Without due 
proficiency in Arabic literature and language, this 
knowledge cannot be acquired and the composition nearest 
to the language of that day cannot be determined. Lastly, it 
must be thoroughly understood that the Quran is Word of 
Allah, and Allah does not disclose the secrets and mysteries 
of His words to those who are disobedient to Him. Hence, 
obedience to Allah, close attachment with Him, piety and 
righteousness are essential qualities in man before he sets to 
interpreting the Quran. This discussion makes it clear that 
mere familiarity with Arabic is not enough to explain the 
Quran. One must study the principles governing TafsTr, 
science of Hadith principles governing Hadith and 
jurisprudence, knowledge of syntax, grammar, etymology, 
literature and rhetoric. Coupled with purity of heart, mind 
and body and deep devotion to Allah (Taqwa). 

To adopt the path of exegesis without meeting these 
conditions is to mislead oneself and qualify oneself as one 
of whom the Prophet ^g had said, 

jUl ^ oJ^Jw t j~-li jJLp j^> OtyUl J* JL* q* 

Whosoever says anything about the Quran without 
knowledge let him make his place in the Fire (of Hell). 


In this connection some misunderstandings must be 
1 : Some people say that the Quran has itself stated: 

*'# Ait approach to the Quranic sciences 

°jF&'j* u Jfc y^i yr^ u^ -aii-. *^ 

Certainly We made the Quran easy tor admonition but is 
there anyone who would be admonished. 

(Al-Qainai. 54:17) 

So when the Quran is an easy book there is no need for 
help from arts and sciences to interpret it. Every one should 
be able to understand it by reading its text. 

This argument is a grave misunderstanding which is 
based on lack of intellect and on superficial viewpoint. 
The fact is that the Quranic verses are of two types. 
Firstly, those which offer common advice, didactic 
events, and subjects that deal with taking warning and 
acting on sound advice. For instance there are verses 
that speak of morality of the world, account of Paradise 
and Hell, verses that inspire fear of God. concern for 
the Hereafter and other plain facts of life. Verses of this 
type are no doubt easy and anyone knowing Arabic 
language can benefit from them. 

In fact this purpose can be achieved to some extent even 
after going through the recognised translations of the 
Quran. The verse under reference lias pointed out to this 
very fact, which is apparent from the word ^Jl) (for the 
sake of admonition). 

Contrary to this, there are verses which consist of 
injunctions, regulations, beliefs and scholastic subjects. 
It is not possible for just anyone to understand them and 
deduce and draw tenets from them unless a deep insight 
in the Islamic learnings is attained first. That is why the 
Companions of the Prophet "M used to spend long 
periods of time regularly in learning the Quran from 
him even though their mother tongue was Arabic and 
they did not have to go anywhere to get training in 
Arabic. Suyuti has quoted "Abdur Rahman SulainT that 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 379 

he was told by the Companions such as Sayyidina 
'Uthmah bin 'Affah and 'Abdullah Bin Mas'TTd ^>, who 
had regularly leanu the Quran from the Prophet $g that 
they would not proceed beyond ten verses until they had 
obtained all the relevant knowledge and practical 
application of these verses. They used to say: 

We have learnt the Quran, knowledge and action all 
in one. 

It is narrated in Mu >atta of Imam Ma"lik that 'Abdullah 
ibn 'Urnar took eight years to memorise and learn Surah 
Al-Baqarah alone, and in Musnad Ahmad, Sayyidina Anas 
£$& has stated that the one among them who had learnt 
Surah Al-Baqarah... and Al-lmran enjoyed high esteem 
and status. 40 

It is worth observing that these Companions used to 
take such a long time as eight years to learn and 
memorise just one Surah though their mother tongue was 
Arabic. They had the highest degree of expertise in poetry 
and literature and could commit to memory lengthy odes 
with only a little effort. The only reason (was) that a 
proficiency in Arabic language was not enough for 
learning the Quran and its sciences, but they had to seek 
the benefit of the company and teachings of the Holy 
Prophet ijg. When such was the state of affairs with the 
Companions who had expertise in Arabic language and 
were direct witnesses to revelation, how then could some 
one claim to be a commentator of the Quran with a 
cursory knowledge of Arabic or just by reading 
translations of the Quran. Such a claim is indeed 
audacious and a pitiable jest with the Quran. Such people 

40: Al-Itqan, v2. pi 76. 

380 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

should remember the Prophet's ^ saying: 

Whosoever says anything about the Quran without 
knowledge 41 let him make his abode in the Fire (of 


2: Some people raise the objection that since the Quran is 
guidance for all mankind, hence every one has a right 
to derive benefit from it according to his 
understanding. Its explanations and interpretations 
cannot be monopolised by the scholars and learned 

But this, too is a very superficial and sentimental 
objection that has nothing to do with reality. No doubt the 
Quran is the source of guidance for the entire humanity 
but how does it mean that even an illiterate person may 
formulate intricate laws and rulings from it. and that no 
competency is essential for this. This can be understood 
with the help of an example: Suppose an expert lawyer or 
philosopher or doctor writes a book on his subject, 
obvioulsly it is meant to be of use to the entire mankind. 
If, now, a beginner unaware of the basics of these arts and 
sciences objects that since those books were written for the 
benefit of all mankind, why have the experts monopolised 
it. We can only feel sorry for the man. If defining basic 
qualifications for competency to benefit from a book is to 
monopolise the field then no art or science can remain safe 
from the hold of the illiterate and inept. In fact every book 

41: Abu Daud, as referred to in Al-Itqan v2. p!79. 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 381 

bl art or science is written for the benefit of mankind, but 
i here are only two ways in which a man may gain the 
.id vantage. He may either learn the art or science from 
specialists in these fields and devote time and effort to it, 
or if he cannot do so, he may rely on the explanations and 
interpretations of those who have spent their lives in 
attaining proficiency in them . Anyone who takes a third 
course at the expense of these two is actually unjust to 
himself and to the science or art too. The same applies to 
Quran and Sunnah which are a fountain source of guidance 
to all mankind. The same two approaches are possible to 
gain advantage from them, either one acquires the 
knowledge himself through the proper process under 
teachers and by devoting time to it, or rely on explanations 
and interpretations of those who have given their time for 
the sake of this science. This is the principle of learning 
applied all over the world, and to call it a Monopoly is 
nothing but to ridicule the 'Ulama" in a sentimental 
outburst. Of all the learnings in the world, are the Quran 
and Sunnah alone, an unclaimed field of enquiry, that need 
no competence in order to interpret them and anyone who 
likes may pass opinions in this matter? 


3: The same objection is raised by some people in a 
different manner. They say that Papal ism is alien to 
Islam. It is a peculiarity of the Christian faith that 
interpretation of the Bible is the exclusive right of the 
Pope and no one else can object to it. Islam has done 
away with the papal system. How then could the rights 
of exegesis of the Quran be reserved for a particular 
section of the people, the 'Ulama? 
This objection is the result of a misconception about 

both the Papalism and scholars of Islam, the 'Ulama. The 

382 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

'Ulama is not a name of any particular or specific group 
of people based on colour and creed, wealth and property 
or status and position, nor is it a regular organisation the 
membership of which may be essential to be called a 
religious scholar. On the contrary, every one having 
specific knowledge, wisdom, character and piety is a 
religious scholar irrespective of the place he belongs to. 
the language he speaks and his family background. In this 
way the following clear characteristics distinguish the 
scholars of Islam and Popes of Christianity, 
i) Papal ism is the name of a complex religious system 
which is bound to a fixed international organisation. 
It has a large number of offices and posts and the 
number of incumbents is limited. Appointment of a 
person to every office or post is made by a group of | 
specified persons and they assign various duties and 
powers to appointees. No one may obtain an 
appointment merely, on the basis of his ability, 
knowledge, piety or character. Nomination by the 
higher authorities is the only way to assume office. 
Unless he has attained an office in the organisation, 
he will have no say in any religious matter, however, 
highly placed he may be in religious learning, piety 
and character. The result is that a person who has I 
attaineed the highest degree of proficiency in religious 1 
sciences cannot challenge the strong hierarchy of the 
Church through reasoning and argument. Even if a 
selected group of people revolt against their divine 
books, their Prophets and their ancestors, nobody I 
outside the organisation can raise a finger on them. 
In contrast to this, there has never been an 
international organisation of "The Scholars of Islam", 
the 'Ulama. There is no such organisation which 
prohibits expression of veiws to those outside it. and 


Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 

limits authority of its officers and appropriates to itself 
the right of appointments. Rather, every such person 
gains fame and becomes entitled tube called a religious 
scholar an -Alim, on the basis of his knowledge, piety, 
devotion and character. The authorities of the Church 
prevail upon their flock with their opinions by virtue of 
their official status but a Muslim scholar attains his 
position through his knowledge, piety and character. The 
enforced laws of the Church bind man to follow them 
but among the Muslims the real decisive force is the 
collective conscience of the Umnmli. The number of 
officers of the Church is limited and once that is attained 
no one is entitled to differ from the decisions of the 
Church, no matter how great a scholar hejuay be. The 
"Religious Scholars of Islam", the "Ulama. have no 
fixed number. Every one can become a scholar once he 
has gone through the process of religious learnings, 
ii) In Papalism the powers of interpretation and exegesis 
of religious tenets rest with a single person who is 
called the Pope. He is elected by only seventy cardinals 
out of millions of followers of that religion. The Pope 
is the sole vicegerant of St. Peter, the final authority in 
all religious matters, and his interpretations are binding 
on every Christian. His word is the Law and even the 
greatest scholar has no right to differ from him. His 
powers have been defined in Encyclopaedia Britannica 
in the following words: 

"Hence, in matters of belief and concepts the 
Pope, in the capacity of supreme authority enjoys 
the same authority and the same infallibility as 
the entire Church. In the capacity of legislator 
and judge he enjoys all those powers which the 
^ whole Church has." ** 

42: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Article on Pope v!8, p222.223. 

384 Ait approach to the Quranic sciences 

Turn the pages of Islamic history and you will not find 
a single instance of a religious scholar making claim to 
such an absolute authority. 

iii) According to Christian beliefs the Pope is innocent and 
infallible when he proclaims ideological rulings. The 
Britannica says: 

"Hence, the Pope has two distinctive attributes. 
One, that whenever, he makes a proclamation 
about beliefs, he is infallible and free from errors; 
and two he has a sovereign jurisdiction over all the 
followers of religion. These two prerogatives that 
the Popes have claimed and used since centuries, 
have been given a clear constitutional shape in the 
Vatican Council of July 1870. " 43 

As opposed to this, the scholars of Islam are all agreed 
that nobody except the Prophets f*-Ji ^ can be infallible 
and innocent. Everyone else may err. Hence, the scholars 
of Islam have been commenting on each other with full 
freedom of expression, and this is in practice since the time " 
of the Companions. The result is that even if the greatest 
scholar of Islam j^rrs in interpreting the Quran and Sunnah, 
the other 'Ulama censure him and save the Ummah from 
the evil repurcussions. 

iv) Further, the seventy Cardinals that select the Pope and 
advise him are all nominated by the Pope himself. 
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: 
"Now-a-days the nomination of the Cardinals is 
the job of Pope alone. The job is regarded as 
complete on the publication of the names selected 
by the Pope in secrecy, and it does not require any 
other formality.... similarly it is not essential for it 

43: Encyclopaedia Britannica vl8, p223 also see the article on 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 385 

to be voted or approved by the Sacred College." 44 
Then again these authorities of the Church are not 
appointed only by virture of their ability but several 
regional prejudices prevail in different regions. The 
Encyclopaedia Britannica says: 

"In the United States of America, the Church is 
composed of different groups of every nation in 
the world. But the English speaking nations are in 
majority. Till the middle of 19th century Irish and 
German nations had the maximum quota.... In 
addition, Eastern Catholic nations (i.e. Greek, 
Syrians and Armenians,) are present in a 
considerable ratio." 45 

After this brief introduction if we compare Papalism 
with Islamic scholars we find a world of difference between 
the two. There is no established Organisation of the 
Scholars of Islam, no single person is the superme authority 
in religious matters, nobody does claim to be innocent and 
infallible, a number is not limited for them to prevent their 
increase in the numbers of the 'Ulama, none of the 'Ulama 
is above criticism by the others, no approval required from 
a "Single Person" to attain the scholar status, there is no 
restriction of caste, creed, colour or place for it. In fact the 
history of Islam shows that mostly the Arabs led in the 
political domain but religious scholars were generally from 
non-Arabs and even from the slaves, whom the entire 
Islamic world had acknowledged for their learning, 
knowledge, piety and devotion. Thus it is most unjust to 
blame the 'Ulama for adopting the Papal system when they 
assert that insight and experience is necessary for speaking 
on the Quran and Sunnah. 


Encyclopaedia Britannica v4, p855 on Cardinal 
Ibid vl9, p421 (Roman Catholic Church) 
(See on next Page) 

386 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

In fact the religious science is like the other sciences. 
Just as the verdict of a person on any other art or science 
will not be accepted unless he has attained the concerned 
knowledge from experts in that field and has also gained 
practical^ experience in it, the interpretation and exegesis of 
the Quran would not be acceptable from a person who has 
not attained knowledge from expert teachers and practised it 
under their supervision. If this is Papalism, then every art 
or science of the world is Papalism, too. 



The second grave aberrance in connection with the 
exegesis of the Quran is that a person first conceives 
certain ideas in his mind and then attempts to interpret the 
Quran according to those ideas. This has been pointed out 
by Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah. 47 

Irreligious people and those impressed by the 
philosophy of their time, have from earlier times, adopted 
the same misleading method for exegesis of the Quran, 
and tried to interpolate the words of the Quran to suit 
their own views. This behaviour does not conform to any 
standard of justice and righteousness in any matter, and it 
is cruel to adopt it in connection with the Quran such as 

(Foot note of Previous page.) 

46: Here we only intend to point out the differences between the 
scholars of Islam and Popes. To deal with the merits and 
demerits of Papalism is outside the scope of our subject. In fact, 
the propaganda of the Protestants has pointed out to actual 
defects of Papalism they have also made certain unfounded 
allegations only to defame the system. But we are not concrned 
with that discussion at this point. (Muhammad TaqT) 

47: Usui ut TafsTr, Ibn Taymiyyah Maktaba "Ilmiyah- Lahore. 

\n approach to the Quranic sciences 387 

nothing could be more cruel than this. The Quran has 
declared itself frequently a book of "Guidance . 
"Guidance" means "To show the way to a person who has 
lost his destination." Hence, in order to get Guidance 
from the Quran it is essential that one should keep his 
mind open like the one who does not know his 
destination, and his mind is blank. Thereafter, he should 
have faith that the way shown by the Quran will be the 
way for reform and prosperity for him even if his limited 
mind cannot reason it. He may tell himself if he were 
capable he would not have turned to the Quran in the first 
place. When anyone turns towards it with this belief and 
fulfils the required conditions and etiquette necessary for 
getting the "Guidance" of the Quran, he will surely get it 
and achieve his goal. 

Contrary to this, if somebody has predetermined 
concepts in his mind based on his personal whims and then 
goes through the Quran with this frame of mind it would 
mean that he is not reading the sacred Book of Allah to get 
guidance but only to find support for his personal views. 
Obviously one who relies on his own intellect and does not 
subject it to the Quran but (God forbid) suppresses the 
Quran to his intellect, the Quran is not under obligation to 
guide him. Such a person would not get any guidance from 
Ihe Quran and rather than reach his destination would be 
caught in the labyrinth of waywardness. It is for these 
people that the Quran has said: 

Allah sends many astray thereby; and He guides many 
thereby. (AI-Baqarah. 2:76) 

Hence the correct method of gaining guidance from the 
Quran is to turn towards it like a seeker of Truth after 

388 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

foreeing one's mind of bias and prejudices. One should 
acquire the knowledge required to understand it and then 
seek to interpret it. Then believe like a true believer in 
whatever he learns of the TafsTr. As for the one who cannot 
afford to undergo this process or does not have confidence 
on his personal views, he should rely on the interpretations 
of those who have spent their lives on this study and whose 
insight, piety and character are unquestioned in his eyes. 


Being impressed with prevailing Philosophy 

The third great wrong approach in the exegesis of the 
Quran is to turn towards the Quran after being overawed 
by the philosophical and intellectual concepts of the times 
setting them as standard for right and wrong and 
accordingly explaining the Quran. This aberrance is 
actually part of the second cause but we give it a separate 
classification because in the current era, Western influence 
is playing havoc with our social conduct. 

In the history of Islam there have always been some 
people who have felt impressed by the philosophy of their 
times without first acquiring proficiency in the science of 
Quran and Sunnah. The philosophy impressed them to such 
an extent that they became deprived of the ability to think 
independently. When they turned towards the Quran with 
this mind they found much against their ideal philosophy 
and they started interpreting the Quran in that light rathe'r 
than negate their own concepts. They tried to after the 
words of Quran to fit their views. 

The same thing happened when the Greek philosophy 
became popular among Muslims. They studied it without 
first studying the science of the Quran and Sunnah. 
Some people who had been overawed by that philosophy 
started to distort the Quranic concepts to accommodate 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 389 

the Greek Philosophy. Some of them did it sincerely, | 
Rnd truly believed that the Greek philosophy could not 
be contradicted and the inherited interpretations of the 
Quran would not be able to face the intellectual 
revolution brought about by the Greek Philosophy. So 
they hoped to accommodate the TafsTr of the Quran to 
Greek ideas, But this was a disfavour to Islam and only 
created an ideological confusion rather than do any real 
service to Islam. It created new sects, such as Mu'taziloh 
and Jahmiyyah. The result was that the Mu'tazillah 
scholars of Islam who were never impressed by any 
system or new concept brought against Islam, had to 
devote their time to contradict such people at the 
expense of the religious service. They pointed out to the 
intellectual drawbacks of the Greek Philosophy and thus 
contradicted, with detailed arguments, the deliberations 
of those who were interpolating the meanings of the 
Quran under the influence of this philosophy. Thus, 
debates, discussions and literary writings became 
everyday affair, and book-loads of libraries came up 
supporting one view or the other. 

The authentic scholars held that the Quran was not any 
human product but it comprised the words of the Creator of 
this Universe Who was Aware of the minutest occurences 
in this world, and no one else could be better informed than 
Him about the changing circumstances of this world. 
Hence, the teachings of the Quran and the facts it reveals 
are universal, eternal and unchangeable. As for the laws, 
injunctions and ideologies that may change with the times, 
the Quran has laid down comprehensive principles about 
them to be applicable at all times, and guidance may be 
obtained from them in every environment^ But the things 
that are explicitly described by the Quran or explicitly 
interpreted by the Holy Prophet M are not affected by the 


An approach to the Quranic sciences \ 

changing times. 

History of science and philosophy testifies that their 
theories most of which are not based on definite observation 
keep changing in different times. The prevailing theories so 
enraptured minds that people were not prepared to listen to 
anything against those theories. But when fresh findings 
disproved them they were disgraced and regarded 
outmoded. The same happened to new concepts that 
replaced the older ones and the successive concepts. This 
has continued in the intellectual history of man and it will 
go on until the search for reality brings him face to face 
with absolute observation^ Contrary to this, the realities 
towards which the Quran has explicitly guided are 
presented by a Being who sees the entire universe and the 
happenings in it. Therefore, the temporary theories of 
science _and philosophy cannot hold against the guidance of 
the Quran. If one is impressed by a concept of the moment 
and then tries to mould the Quran according to it, the same 
concept may turn out to be a relic of the days of ignorance, 
and one would feel ashamed to mention it even. 

This resolute stand taken by the determined scholars 
came out to be true. Advancements in Science and 
Philosophy have shattered the theories of the Greak 
Philosophy. Not only many of its natural, basic and 
astronomical concepts have been proved wrong but the 
structure of metaphysical concepts raised on their ^basis has 
also fallen to the ground. Those people who had been 
impressed by it and tried to mould the Qurln and Sunnah 
according to it. if they had been alive today, would have 
been ashamed and abashed. 

However, it is very surprising that those who always 
take_a narrow approach try. even today, to explain the i 
Quran and Sunnah, in the frame of tlv- western mind rather 
than learn from history. They are bent on ignoring the 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 391 

established and accepted principles of exegesis. They strive 
to adopt only one principle and that is to eke out meanings 
in the words of Allah that fit the western mind. They do 
not care whose words they are interpolating? They do not 
give a thought how durable the ideologies are for whose 
sake they play with the words of Allah. 

They do not worry what would happen to their 
interpolations once fresh ideas overrun them. 


A famous western philosopher disclosed the law of 
Absorption in seventeenth century, a theory about the 
Universe and everything in it gained Universal popularity. 
This was known as Mechanical Concept of Life. In plain 
language it can be summarised in the words that the entire 
universe is so bound together in the system of Cause and 
Effect that it cannot deviate even a hair's breadth from it. 
For example, the nature of fire is to burn, and it is not 
possible to separate this nature from the fire. Hence it can 
never happen that while fire is raging yet it does not burn 
things which it should because of its nature. 

When this view was acknowledge the world over the 
western thinkers began to ridicule every such incident that 
did not follow this rule and came to be called Super 
Natural, and went against their theory of Cause and Effect. 
So they declared as 'Superstition' every thing that did not 
observe natural process. More than the theory the ridicule 
with which they held the Super Natural overawed the 
Revivalists of Islam. When they found that most of the 
miracles of the Prophets f">uJt 9 $ ±\* mentioned in the Quran 
do not conform with these theories they began to twist the 
words of the Quran in a manner that these miracles may be 
said to follow natural phenomena rather be irregular and 
deem to be 'Super Natural'. It would then not attract 

392 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

western ridicule. For instance, it is the nature of Fire 
according to the "Cause and Effect" theory, to burn but the 
Quran asserts that the Fire was cooled down when Prophet 
Ibrahim &$ was thrown into it. Confronted with this 
assertion, some Revivalists of Islam have just denied the 
occurrence of the incident. They played with the words of 
Quran in such a manner that they completely changed the 
meanings of the Quran which no scholar of the Quran and 
Simnali could imagine for the last thirteen centuries. Thus, 
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan violated the established consensus of 
the Muslim Ummah and tried to find excuses for his 
interpolation. He writes: 

"In their times (that is the times of earlier 
scholars of Islam) 'Natural Senses' had not 
developed. There was nothing to tell them of the 
Law of Nature and stop them from erring." 
Hence these causes and similar other causes were 
such that they (the scholars) could not pay due 
attention to these words of the Quran. For 
instance.... there is no conclusive evidence about 
the story of Sayyidina Ibrahim &U that he was 
actually thrown into the fire, but they did not 
observe it. 48 

But the fact is that apart from Prophetic Traditions and 
narrations, the words of the Quran about this incident are: 

> : l; uis o yuu °^k °j) ;J^ji \yjj\j ;>> rj& 

They said "Burn him and help your gods if you must do 
anything." We said: "O Fire! Be you coolness and safety 

48: Muqaddamah TafsTr Quran, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan vl . pi 7. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

for Ibrahim." And they intended a guile against him, but 
We made them the worse losers. (Al-Anbiya, 21: 68-70) 

s *o y» 

They said, "Build for him a building, then cast him into 

Hell-fire." "So they sought a plan against him, but We 

made them low". (As-Slftat. 37:97-98) 

The clear and explicit words of the Quran were 
interpolated only to accommodate Sayyidina Ibrahim's $M 
safe emergence from the fire to the prevalent "Natural 
Sense" of the West. Hence for the sake of this "Natural 
Sense", Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and his henchmen not only 
violated all principles of Exegesis of the Quran and gave 
imaginary meanings to their words but also damaged the 
fundamental belief of the bodily resurrection of man, 
declared the realities of Devils, Jinns and Angels as 
superstition and rejected all the miracles of Prophets r ^ 
ffrj\. For this purpose, they turned the Quran into a 
collection of poetic allegories and parables. On reading 
their interpretations it seems that instead of narrating the 
incident in the lives of the Prophets f*-Ji ^M >" its 
simple style, the Quran has presented them in allegoric 
puzzles which were disclosed to the devotees of the West 
for the first time after thirteen hundred years. To clothe 
the explicit words of the Quran with meanings that suit 
them seems to be a sport for them. Countless examples of 
this are found in their exegesis and the purpose of their 
effort and struggle in this direction in the words of Sir 
Syed Ahamd Khan is as follows. 

"When miracles are considered to be superhuman 
or 'supernatural' we deny them and consider their 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

occurence as impossible. It is like to betray an oral 
committment and openly declare that there is no 
proof of the occur-ence of such an incident which 
is supernatural and which is called a Miracle. 
Then, even if we do accept them as within the 
powers of God, it will serve no purpose. 49 
Contrary to this, the view of the scholars of Islam is 
that the occurence of Miracles is not unreasonable. They 
are, of course, uncommon and not regular happenings. 
When Allah wishes to expose the Truth of any of His 
Messengers before the common and illiterate men He 
makes such amazing and uncommon things happen at their 
hands that every one realises that the Messenger is truly 
from Allah. But, because the legal tender in the west is the 
coin of "Natural Sense", Sir Syed felt shy of admitting it as 
did his henchmen. 

It was about that time that the authority of Allah was 
manifesting itself. Earlier theories were being proved 
wrong in the light of new researches and Einstein had laid 
the foundation of his Theory of Relativity which had turned 
the tables on the previous scientific theories. The drums of 
Atomic science were beaten loud and clear on the basis of 
this theory in the twentieth century and the Laws of Gravity 
and Cause and Effect were rejected which in turn put an 
end to the discussion on the difference between Natural and 
Supernatural. A great and widely acclaimed scientist of the 
present time, Sir Arthur Eddington writes: 

Scientific researches do not indicate an intrinsic 
constituent and inseparable quality or substance 
and nature of things. 50 


TafsTr ul Qurani Sir Syed Ahmed Khan vl. plO. 
Eddington: The Nature of Physical world. P 303. Adopted from 
Mazhab and Science by Mawlana "Abdul Ban Nadwi n86 
Lahore 1976. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 395 

In this way an important result of elimination of Law of 
Motivity in the extrinsic world is that there is no more an 
apparent distinction between natural and supernatural. 

How this great revolution occurred in the scientific 
rules? The answer is provided in the writings of a 
renowned scientist of modem times Sir James Jeans: 

The great seventeenth century achievement of 
Galileo and Newton was recognised that change, 
alteration or creation of every subsequent thing is 
the inevitable result of its past state so much so 
that the history of the entire expanse of nature, 
upto its end point is the essential and inevitable 
result of its beginning as it was on the first day. 
The essential consequence of this conception was 
the movement which understood the entire material 
world as a machine. This state of affairs continued 
till the end of the nineteenth century, and the sole 
objective of natural science came to convert and 
transform the universe into mechanics. 
It was in the last months of the nineteenth century 
that Max Plank of Berlin laid the foundation of 
Quantum Theory which developed into a universal 
principle of modern physics, and later on initiated a 
new era replacing The Mechanical era of Science. 
Initially, the theory of Plank did not reveal that in 
the Universe of Nature the process of continuity 
exists. But in 1917 Einstein asserted that Plank's 
theory in fact bears great revolutionary 
consequences and in the words of James Jeans: 
This theory will replace the law of Cause and 
Effect which was considered thus far as a 
Universal guiding principle. It was a determined 
and unshaken theory of science until now that 
Nature cannot take a single step out of the laws of 

396 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

cause and effect. After the cause A', the effect of 
'B' should inevitably follow. But now the 
discoveries in science suggest that although there 
are several possible effects of 'A' in the form of 
B', 'C or 'D', yet it is also true that the 
possibility of B' following 'A' is greater than of 
'C or D' appearing after 'A'. 
James Jeans theorarised that except for this probability 
or strong assumption, occurence of any so-called effect 
after a so-called cause can neither be established with 
certainty nor be predicted: 

Rather This is a matter which lies on the knees of gods 
whatever gods there may be. 51 

In short, the science that devolped in the light of atomic 
resarches completely replaced the older notions that 
attributes can never be separated from the things of this 
universe, for instance the quality or nature of fire to burn 
other things. To day. science states that while fire does 
burn things and there is a strong probability that it will heat 
and burn, yet if ever it happens otherwise it would neither 
be against intellect nor the scientific rules, Hence, the 
scientists of today can at the most plead ignorance about 
miracles but cannot deny them as impossible in principle. 
This is perhaps why western people are turning towards 
things which they used to call Superstition by considering 
them Supernatural. The trend has gone to the extent that 
regular faculties for learning ifwgic are being established in 
some universities of the West. 

It has always been with the modernists that they 
promptly conform their opinion in line with the general 
thinking of the times, and build thereof a whole structure of 

51: "Mysterious Universe" by James Jeans pp27 to32 adopted from 
'Ma/hab and Scienee by Mawlana 'Afoul Bari Nadwi pp83-85.' 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 397 

ideas and thoughts without investigating the matter 
thoroughly. The same has happened in connection with the 
Miracles that at a time when Sir Syyed Ahmad Khan and 
his henchmen were declaring them as impossible although 
the general western attitude was to reject them, yet all 
scholars of science and philosophy had not toed in with 
Hume and Huxley in rejecting them. There were a large 
number of renowned scientists who believed in the 
Miracles, notably Newton, Freud, Simpson, Kelon and 
Lister. The famous German scientist Lotze has written 
several articles in support of Miracles and proved that 
miracles are in no way against common sense or science. 52 

The extracts of scientists quoted in the preceding lines 
have not been presented in support of the truthfulness of the' 
Quran because the Truth of Quran is independent of such 
support. It was True when the scientists were making fun of 
the supernatural events and it is True even today when the 
scientists themselves admit the possibility of supernaturals. 
If the scientific concepts change again tomorrow, its Truth 
will remain unaltered. We have presented these quotations 
only to emphasize how weak and undurable was the 
foundation of those who had tried to fashion the exegesis of 
the Quran in line with prevailing concepts. They had tried 
to measure in the temporary scale a discourse the 
knowledge of which encompasses all fields of past and 
future and before which every human effort is no more than 
a child's play. 

52: Encylopaedia Britannica pp587, 588. 1950, Article on Miracles 
The writer Alfred E Garvie has discussed exhaustively the need 
and possibility of miracles. He has asserted that miracles in no 
way defy intellect or science. The following books on this subject_ 
are worth reading: (1) Siratun Nabi v3pll7 etc. 'Abdul Bari 
NadwT. (2) Mauqaful 'Aql Wal'llin_ wal 'Aalam, Shaikh Mustafa 
Sabri Bek. (3) Islam aur Mu'jizat, Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad 
'Uthmani «J^it**»> 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Hence, instead of subjecting the Quran to our own 
concepts, we must seek true guidance from it. It should be 
read as it was read by the Prophet % and his Companions 
^JWA^j rather than through the spectacles of 
current concepts. Instead of being overawed by the 
prevalent thoughts, we must use those principles in 
interpreting the Quran on natural and reasonable 
principles of exegesis. We must present to the world with 
complete Faith and self confidence whatever is established 
conclusively instead of being shy and hesitant. The 
prevailing concepts may be altogether against it. yet the 
Quran is Ture and if prosperity is the fate of humanity it 
will ultimately reach this Truth even after a thousand 
stumbling steps. 


In this connection, a mental confusion may arise if we 
follow the established principles and continue to attribute to 
the Quran is against clear observation. If we insist on the 
existing interpretation of the Quran, it would amount to 
attributing to Allah that which have been disproved by 
absolute and unfailing observation. 

It should be understood that the exegesis on originating 
from the Prophet M or consensus of the Companions has 
never been proved to be against intellect or sound 
observation. Scientific research and discoveries have gone 
through hundreds of changes over the last fourteen 
centuries but no authentically proved exegesis of the Quran 
ever went against observation. Since Quran is word of 
Allah and the Prophet Muhammad M was sent to interpret 
it through his words and deeds, every interpretation given 
by him is in accordance with the guidance of Allah, and 
hence it can never go against sound reason and clear 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 399 

However, there are two ways of committing an error 

in this matter . 

1: Those people who are impressed easily by prevailing 
concepts make haste in declaring a thing as 'Against 
reason'. This is an established fact that every thing 
that is astonishing cannot be against reason, nor can 
every such thing be called impossible the causes of 
which have not been understood. Such a thing may be 
called improbable, extraordinary or astonishing, but 
to call it impossible is itself unreasonable. It is 
beyond comprehension of a man who is unfamiliar 
with science or technology, how a wireless set carries 
the voice of a person thousands of miles away. A 
villager may refuse to accept this fact if he is told of 
it. But this does not make hearing that sound against 
reason or impossible. Some commentators do not 
keep this in view when writing an exegesis of the 
Qur'an, and term every such thing against reason or 
impossible as may just be astonishing or at the most 
against habit or improbable, while confirmation of 
such things in the Quran should not be surprising. 
We have explained in the beginning of this book that 
Wahy (Divine Revelation) towards the Prophets 
begins at the point where intellectual power fails. The 
real purpose of Wahy and Prophethood is to tell man 
that which he could not fathom merely by his 
intellect. Hence, without the agency of Wahy and 
Prophethood, human reasoning and intellect could 
never have perceived the realities of Resurrection and 
the Hereafter, accountability and reckoning, Paradise 
and Hell, Angels and so on. If on the other hand, 
these things could have been known by intellect alone 
there was no need to send ProphetS{»%~Ji p$M and 
divine revelations and scriptures to them. Hence, if 

400 An approach to the Quranic sciences 


we believe in Wahy and Prophethood, we shall also 
have to believe that through them we would know 
many such things as could not be known through 
intellect and reason alone. 

When it is agreed that confirmation of such facts in the 
Quran and fjadith is essential in relevance to their subject, 
we cannot reject an established interpretation merely 
because it is astonishing unless it is factually against reason 
and impossible. But no such thing has yet been traced in the 
established interpretations of the Quri"n as may be 
impossible or against reason, nor would it happen until the* 
Last Day. Further details in this connection will be 
discussed in the next chapter on "Principles of Exegesis." 
2: The other error sometimes made is that although an 
existing interpretation of the Qur'an is not certain 
either in the context of the Quran or from an authentic 
saying of the Prophet «$i or from a consensus of the 
Ummah yet such an exegesis becomes so popular 
among the people that they regard it as certain and 
final interpretation. When such an interpretation is later 
proved wrong through sound reasoning or observation 
some ignorant people continue to insist on them, and 
some others suppose that likewise, the Quran itself or 
its established interpratation may also be wrong. 
Hence, on such occasions we must see to what degree 
such an interpretation belongs and we must not 
consider it as final only on the basis of its general 

The subject has been further discussed in detail under 
the "Principles of Exegesis" as to what should be the 
correct way to be adopted when it is an apparent 
contradiction between the reasoned and recorded 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 401 



The fourth wrong committed in the exegesis of the 
Qur¥n is that the subject of the Quran is not correctly 
understood. People try to find such subjects in it as are 
outside its narrations. For instance, some people tax their 
brain to prove all scientific and physical realities and laws 
from the Quran. They think that Quran will be defective if 
these scientific realities could not be proved from it. So 
they sit down sincerely to prove scientific facts from the 
Quran and to this end do not hesitate to attribute wrong 
meanings to the words of the Qura"n. The fact is that 
science is not the real subject of the Quran. Mention of 
realities of this universe, whenever found in the Quran, has 
come up as a secondary subject. Thus, if we find a 
scientific fact mentioned in the Quran, we must believe in 
it. But, to try to deduce a scientific fact or rule from it is 
akin to finding details of law in books of medicine. 

The Quran is not vague or ambiguous on its purpose 
but it has clarified in many verses the purpose of its 
revelation. For instance, the following verses need attention 
in this context, 

*> •* J> J 

«* $ © 3> 

-V ©..Ox* , .^ l|, 8 © 9 " ,., » (| 

Indeed there has come to you from Allah a Light 
and Book manifest, whereby Allah guides those who 
follow His good pleasure into the ways of peace, 
and brings them out from the depths of darkness 

402 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

into light by His decree, and guides them to the 
straight way. (Al-Ma'idah, 5: 15-16) 

£ f> j& j^j ^S ^6 r^ e ^ v&3i jsJg 

^ o . ^5 J 

O People of the Book! Now there has come to you Our 
Messenger, making things clear to you, after an interval 
(of cessation) of the Messengers lest you should say 
"There has not come to us any bearer of glad tidings, 
nor any warner." Indeed there has come to you now a 
bearer of glad tidings and a warner. (AI?Ma'idali, 5:19) 

•■ — 'SO 0*«* 

ja ££ cS u ^^ &*^ '^4^ &3 ijjfj 

*pj£» 15L* LdiS- JSJ j^JI jj> ii*U>- Ui> j^i*lj% 

jjr^J ^ r^-f. Slsi jJdi^J dii ;& $ %x^J 5 

*• ** ** 

And We have revealed to you (O Prophet) the Book with 
the truth, confirming that which was before it of the 
Book, and a guardian thereof. So judge between them 
according to what Allah has revealed and follow not 
their caprices by forsaking the truth that has come to 
you. To every (people) We have appointed a law and a 
way (of ritual). And if Allah had willed. He would have 
surely made you all a single community; but (He willed 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 403 

otherwise) that He might try you in what He gave you. 
So outstrip one another in virtuous deeds. To Allah is 
the return of all of you, so He will then inform you of 
that wherein you used to differ. (Al-Ma'idah, 5:48) 

° d* '* K " 

And thus do We explain the revelations in detail, that 
the way of the sinners may be shown up clearly. 

(Al-An'am. 6:55) 

This is a Book revealed to you (O Prophet) let there be 

no impediment in your heart therefrom — that you may 
warn thereby (the disbelievers), and this is an 
admonition to the Believers. (Al-A'raf. 7:1) 

' v < * 

Do you wonder that admonition should come to you 
from your Lord through a man from among you, that he 
may warn you, and that you may fear (Allah) and that 
you may be shown mercy? (Al-AVaf. 7:63) 

> • 

(-* ?^T U W f-»J o?jS\ Oyy_ 3 OjL*}\ Oy^i ^jJl 

O Oj^jJ 

These are verses (ayat) of the Wise Book. A guidance 

404 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

and a mercy for the good-doers, who establish the Salah 
and pay the Zakah, and of the Hereafter they are 
convinced. (Luqman, 31:1-4) 

j^ t>* (*-*"' u W 3 Jr^ ^hj oi* ^3^' >* J* °'>^ 

The revelation of the Book, therein is no doubt, is from 
the Lord of die worlds, or do they say, "He has forged 
it?" Nay, it is the Truth from your Lord (O Prophet) that 
you may warn a people to whom no warner came before 
you, that they may be guided. I. (As-Sajdah, 32:1-3) 

•>* , ^ . ' of 

^i JJ^t jj 6 t# yj o J^J\ ij& -^ 

(This Quran) is a revelation of the Mighty, the Merciful, 
that you may warn a people whose fathers were not 
warned, so they are heedless. (Ya-sTn, 36:5-6) 

Surely We have revealed to you (O Prophet) die Book 
with truth, so worship Allah, keeping your faith 
sincerely to Him. (Az-Zumar, 39:2) 

*■• *t •*# *> * 

- ^-f- 

c?j ^ r 1 iM &> ay a©! L£.y iJUiTj 

And thus We have revealed tQ you an Arabic Quran that 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 405 

you may warn the mother-town, and those around it, and 
that you may warn of the Day of Gathering, whereof there 
is no doubt, (when) a party will be in the Garden, and a 
party in the blazing Fire. (Ash-Shura. 42:7) 

bf 3 <&> aL» & a** i^24 y '^j ° '^£& u yj& 
& o -jg& l j 3 4j ^ %y '(4^ b^4^ 

O j_^^j *yi) <u*j>-j^ c5**-*j (w r' ul ! ^ Lsa ^ 

Then We established you (O Prophet) on a Shariah 
(Open way) of (Our) Command; so follow it, and follow 
not the caprices of those who know not. Surely they 
cannot avail you of anything against Allah, and surely 
the evildoers are friends of one another; and Allah is the 
Friend of the God-fearing. This (Qttfah) is an 
enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy 
for people who are convinced. (Al-Jaihiyah, 45:18-20) 


&. ^Li; 'J& 1^122. tffcf £&& 2^J 'Jj> &» 

Allah has (now) sent down the most excellent discourse, a 
Book alike throughout, oft-repeating (its teachings,) 
whereat shiver the skins of those who fear their Lord, 
then their skins and their hearts soften to Allah's 
remembrance. This is Allah's guidance He guides with it 
whomsoever He will. And he whom Allah sends astray. 

6 A " approach to the Quranic sciences 

there is no guide for him. (Az-Zumar. 39:23) 
These are just a few examples, and if one ponders over 
them it will be clear that the real purpose of the Quran is to 
exhort man to prepare for the Hereafter, and to teach him 
to pass this life in accordance with the will of Allah Then 
whatever it narrates of the historical facts or references of 
the Universe and galaxies are all meant to support and 
affirm the same basic theme. Hence, if we do not find a 
popular scientific fact in it. it should neither surprise us nor 
is anything wrong in it because that is not the theme of the 
Quran. Similarly, if there be no mention of a past or future 
event, there should be no objection because it is not a book 
of history. However the Quran describes here and there 
some incidents by way of lesson and admonition. This 
answers jhe objection of those non-Muslims who ask why 
the Quran does not refer to the arts and sciences through 
which material advancement has been attained by the 
Western countries? It also removes the misunderstanding of 
those who try to somehow prove scientific theories or laws 
from the Quran to cope with these objections. Such an 
attempt is like looking into a Law Book for a formula to 
make an atom bomb and an attempt by some other people 
to extract the theory of atom by distorting the legal 
phraseology of the book. Obviously, these other people are 
foolish if they attempt to discover the theory in a Law 
book. Similarly, if some one objects to the absence of 
scientific and engineering theories, it is foolish to distort 
the words of the Quran to somehow extract those theories 
or laws_from it. The correct answer to the objection is that 
the Quran is neither a book of science or engineering nor 
material advancement is its theme, because a man can find 
that out through his intellect, wisdom, experiments and 
observations. That is why Allah has left it to man to 
investigate about these things. The Quran has as its theme 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 407 

only what cannot be conceived through intellect and 
reasoning alone, but Divine guidance in the form of Wahy 
is essential for them. Thus, man has attained heights in the 
field of Science and Technology through his intellect, 
thinking, experiments and observations. But he could not 
progress in Faith and Belief, purity of heart and soul, 
goodness of character and deeds, devotion in worship and 
preparedness for the Hereafter. These things are not 
possible without the Wahy from Allah and are therefore, 
subjects of the Quran. Man cannot attain them in spite of 
his excellences of intellect and thinking, nor can they be 
attained unless guidance from the Quran is sought with 

We do not mean to say it is wrong to deduce a scientific 
fact from the Quran. We also admit that there is a mention 
of scientific realities in the Quran as a passing reference, 
hence, if we find any explicit scientific fact in the Quran, 
there is nothing wrong in narrating it. But one must avoid 
the following errors in this connection: 
I : Any scientific reality mentioned in the Quran is only in 
passing. Its real object is to reflect on the supreme 
authority of Allah and to strengthen the Faith. Hence, 
it is totally wrong to consider the Quran as a source of 
information on science. 
2: Where no information of a scientific subject is found it 
would be wrong to distort the words of the Quran to 
accommodate scientific facts into it. This is well 
understood by means of the following example: 
When the scientists said that the Earth was stationary 
and other planets were revolving round it, some people 
tried to prove this theory from the Quran, and cited the 
following verse: 

40ii An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Who made this earth a fixed abode. (An-Naml, 27:61) 

Those people pleaded that the word (fixed abode) I 
denoted that the Earth was stationary. However, Quran only 
recalls the blessing of Allah that man lives on this earth I 
restful ly rather than be unstable on it, and has no trouble in 
sitting or lying down or moving about on it. Obviously, 
this blessing of Allah has nothing to do with the movement 
or not of the Earth. But, in fact, the blessing is bestowed I 
on man irrespective of whether the earth is stationary or 
moving. Hence trying to prove from this verse that the I 
Earth is stationary is uncalled for and an unnecessary 
introduction of new meaning into it. 

Later on, when science advanced the theory of Rotation 
of Earth as opposed to its being stationary, some people 
again occupied themselves in finding proof for that in the 
Qurian, and the following verse was presented as an 

* * 

^IkUl ji jij '^>j l'x^>- \+L^5 'JU^JI ifYj 

And you shall see the mountains — you think them 
firmly fixed — passing away as the passing away of the 
clouds.... (An-Naml, 27:88) 

These people translated the word (j*3) as referring to 
earth (feminine noun in Arabic) while it refers to mountains 
(and is the female singular of the plural noun mountains). 

On this basis they advocated that this verse described 
the movement of the Earth because the movement of 
mountains in fact means the movement of Earth. The 
context of the verse shows clearly that it pertains to the 
happenings of the Last Day. The verse simply means that 
the seemingly unmoving mountains shall (on the Last Day) 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 


be floating in the atmosphere like the clouds. 

The fact is that the Quran is silent on the subject of 
rotation of Earth and there is no mention of it in the entire 
Quran, because this is not part of its theme. We cannot 
prove or disprove movement of the earth from the Quran. 
Hence, whichever view is adopted in the light of scientific 
arguments, the Quran does not interfere; it poses no danger 
to Faith and Religion either way. f7 

It should be noted here_that often sincere attempts are 
made to show that the Quran narrates scientific facts and 
the intention generally is to convince the non-Muslims that 
the discoveries which they had made after hundreds of 
years have already been foretold in the Quran. But if this is 
done by violating the principle of exegesis, it is not being 
friendly to the Quran. When they were trying to prove 
through the Quran that Earth js stationary they considered 
it a great service to the Quran, but if it was universally 
accepted that the Quran speaks of a stationary Earth, what 
effect this would have had when science changed its views 
and said the earth rotates? Hence, only those things about 
science can be attributed to the Quran which are explicitly 
proved in it; but those not clearly mentioned in the Quran 
cannot be attributed to it. It was wrong to do so in the past, 
and it is wrong even today. 53 

53- See also al Intibahat al-Mufldah and Hallul Intibahat. fourth 
intibah, v2. pp 27-46. by Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanvi printed at 



As has been stated already, exegesis of the Quran and 
deduction of laws and commands from it form part of a 
very vast subject. In order to fully understand, its principles 
a knowledge of Arabic language and literature, its grammar 
and composition, Hadith and Jurisprudence are essential. 
All these principles cannot be discussed in this book. The 
science of Principles of Jurisprudence comprises mostly the 
principles of deducing the Laws and Commands from the 
Quran. It is essential for anybody wishing to acquire a 
detailed knowledge of this science, to learn it from the 
experts in this field. In these pages, however we wish to 
mention some of the broad principles of the exegesis of the 
Quran that can be understood without a thorough 
proficiency in the science of principles of jurisprudence. 
These are the principles which if ignored, cause 
misunderstandings and sometimes a divergence into the 
wrong. These are not all the principles of exegesis of the 
Quran but are some selected discussions on this subject 
according to the need of the present times. 

412 An approach to the Quranic sciences 



Sometimes a word is used not in its literal sense but in 
allegorical sense. For example, the real meaning of the word 
"lion" is "a wild carnivorous animal" but sometimes it is 
also used in the meaning of "a brave man". For instance, 
"Richard, the lion-hearted" does not mean that Richard had 
the heart of lion in his body, but that Richard was a brave 
person. Similarly, many other words are used in a certain 
context where the literal meanings do not apply but a 
proverbial reference is made. This style is employed in the 
Quran too. This does not mean however, that everyone is at 
liberty to give to a Quranic word a literal meaning or an 
allegorical meaning as he chooses. The scholars of Islam 
have framed an appropriate rule on which there is a general 
consensus. We must understand the rule here. The rule is 
that in the first place the literal meaning of a word of the 
Quran would apply, and the proverbial or allegoric meaning 
would be adopted only when the literal meaning cannot be 
adopted due to a sound reason. Where there is no such 
reason, the proverbial meaning shall not apply. Following are 
the situations which serve as sound reasons for this purpose. 
1: Reason or unfailing observation may show that the 

literal meaning does not fit. A detailed discussion will 

follow when the next principle on Reason and the 

Quran is discussed. 
2: The literal meanings of a sentence may have become 

obsolete from proverbial or allegoric point of view. 

For instance, it has been said about the unbelievers 

* * * 

O 'ClyAy, C» UlUi 

So little is that they believe. (Al-Baqarah. 2:88) 
The literal meaning of the woid J-1S is small, little or 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 413 

not big, but in this sentence in a proverbial use it does not 
mean "they believe but only a little", but it means "they 
do not believe at all" and in this way the word J^ is 
proverbially used in the negative sense. The English word 
'few' or 'little' has the same implication. 
3: The style of the Quranic phrase may not allow for the 

literal meaning to be read. For instance, the Quran 


So let him who wills believe, and let him who will, 

disbelieve. (Al-Khaf, 18:29) 

The exact literal meanings of these words would be that 
(God forbid) this is a permission from Allah to man to 
believe or disbelieve as he chooses. But further on it is said 

8 -*-' s 

Surely we have prepared for the evildoers a fire... 

(Al-Kahf, 18:29) 

These words make it obvious that the verse does not 
permit man to choose belief or disbelief at his will, but that 
after having known the consequences of either path, man is 
at liberty to remain in the state of disbelief or adopt the 
way of belief. In the former instance he would face the 
torment of Hell and in the later case he will receive the 

pleasure of Allah. 54 

Except for the above situations it will not be correct to 
interpret any word in its proverbial sense in preference to 
its literal sense. This is an accepted principle and it is 

54: In order to avoid a detailed discourse in the meanings, we have 
used simple words to outline the principle, A detailed discourse 
may be seen in the Books of fiqh notably Baydawis "Usui aur us 
Ki sharah and 'Abdul 'Aziz Al-Najari's." Kashf al-Asrar. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

unquestionable that it is reasonable too. If a free hand is 
allowed to choose proverbial sense in the words of Allah, 
no verse of the Quran will escape interpolation in its 
meanings, and every body would impose his 
self-conceived ideas on the Quran on the plea that 
proverbial meanings of the words or phrases apply. 

The matter is not limited only to literal and proverbial 
meanings. Sometimes there may be more than one literal 
meaning of a word or a sentence. In such a situation the 
rule is that the meanings which are nearest, more explicit 
and readily understood shall be adopted. Distant or hidden 
meanings shall not be adopted unless any of the above 
mentioned stituation exists in rejecting the nearest 
meanings, or these other meanings are known to have been 
applied by the Prophet ;j|. 

Thus 'Allamah Badruddin Zarkashi -uU^iiU^ has said: 
J* J-^Ji 4-**** <j^i\ & j£* U*JbJ o_j£, 01 Ui^l 

J^\ djl L ^J\ y. ^|^J| j| J* JJ.> ^ aj V , ^y^j, 

(The likelihood of more than one meaning of the text 
of the Quran is) first, when one meaning is more clear 
than the other so only such clear meanings will be 
applied except there be a reason to prefer the rare 
meaning to the apparent. In the latter case, the rare 
meaning will be chosen. 55 

This principle is so self-evident and reasonable that one 
cannot ignore it even in the common human discourses, to 
say nothing of the words of Allah. If this is ignored, it will 
not be possible to understand the other person's speech in its 

55: Al-Burhan fi 'Uloom ul Quran v2, pi 67. 

— 415 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

true perspective. Suppose a man reaches the Railway station 
and asks his servant "Go and buy the ticket." If now this 
servant goes and brings the Postage stamp instead of a 
Railway Ticket, he would be called a stupid person although 
both possibilities existed in the word "Ticket". 56 But it was 
the stupidity of the servant that instead of adopting the 
nearest and more apparent meanings he adopted the distant 
and inevident meanings. Similarly, if the ruler of a town 
orders an engineer to have a canal dug up at a particular 
place so that the surrounding area may be fertile, but the 
engineer builds a school claiming that the ruler meant so and 
in support of his view presents references from great writers 
and poets that they have used the word "canal" (/) 
allegorically in the meaning of "education institution", what 
would people say of such an engineer? He will be considered 
an insane person because his interpretation can only be 
correct if there exists a valid argument against the use of its 
literal meaning which does not exist here. 

Some people have fallen a prey to grave aberrances in 
the exegesis of Qurln ignoring this principle. In olden 
times a group of renegades existed by the name of 
Qarlmitah or Batiniyyah. They had built the entire 
structure of their religion in that they gave strange and 
rather funny meanings to every word of the Quran. Thus 
they claimed that in the *Quran 'Salah' means 'submission 
to the leader' (BltinT leader), 'tfajj' means 'visit to their 
leader and service to him', Saum (Fasting) means 'To 
abstain from disclosing the secrets of their leader^ 
'Fornication' means 'disclosing a secrect of the_Batini 
People' 57 The 'Staff of Musa' means 'Victory of Musa' and 

56: Actually this example is given in Urdu and the word ticket is 

used in Urdu for postage stamp also. 
57: Al-Farq baynel flrQ<j Abdul Qahir al-Baghdadi al-Asfarame, p296. 


416 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

the 'Shade of clouds' means 'Establishing their Rule.' 58 

In the present time also there have been several authors 
who have defied this rule and dangerously stumbled in the 
path of exegesis. For instance, on the basis of a cursory 
knowledge of western philosdophy in the beginning of 
nineteenth century some Modernists rejected all such things 
out of Islamic beliefs that were described by the Westerners 
as "Superstitions." To achieve that they made- such 
interpolations in the Quran that one shudders at the 
thought. In this way they have labelled about half the 
Quranic verses as_allegorical, metaphors and parables. For 
instance, the Quran has described, at several places, the 
creation of Sayyidina Adam m, the prostration of angels 
before him, and the transgression of Iblis. But since at that 
time Darwin's theory of Evolution was becoming very 
popular in the West, and some incomplete information 
about it were being received in India also, those Modernists 
claimed that the story of_Sayyidina Adam W> angels, and 
Iblis described in the Quran is simply a parable, otherwise 
they have never really existed. Hence Sir Sayyed Ahmad 
Khan has written; 

"By the word A"dam is not meant the particular 
being whom the people and the Mullahs of the 
mosque call Father A"dam, but by it is meant the 
mankind. " 59 
He further writes: 

Four parties are named in this incident, Firstly 
Gods 60 secondly the Angels (that is, angelic traits), 
thirdly Iblis or Satan (that is, beastlly traits), 
fourthly A~dam (that is, mankind which is a 

58: Al-Milal wanNahl, Shahristani, vl, p334. 
59: TafsTr-ul-Quran by Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan vl, p48. 
60: It is consoling that he has not given an allegorical meaning to 
God as he has done to the other three names (in brackets). 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 4/7 

composite of all these traits and includes men and «l 
women both.) The purpose of the story is to ^ 
describe human nature by means of human faculty 
of expression." 

The question arose that the Quran has stated about the 
angels that they remain busy in praising and glorifying 
Allah. How is it so? In reply Sir Sayyed writes. 

"Whatever traits describe the task to keep on 
doing the same task, and this is their praise and 
glorification. The faculties of sleep, speech,, 
burning, flowing, freezing cannot do anything 
other than inducing sleep, speech, burning, 
flowing and freezing respectively." 

The question then arose what was meant by Adam's 
abode in Paradise, eating from the forbidden tree, and his 
descent from there to the earth? Note the jugglery of 
"Allegory and Parable" in reply to this question: 

"Right from the beginning we do not consider 
this story of Adam and IblTs as a real story, but 
just an expression of human nature in its own 
language. Hence, the stay of man in Paradise is 
an expression of a state of his nature when he 
was not bound to any Do's and Don'ts.... And 
his going near the Forbidden Tree and eating its 
fruit denotes the state of his nature when he 
became bound from that boundless state. The use 
of the word Descent is not specific for change of 
place alone." 61 

The question still arose that Iblis refused to go in 
prostration because he was created out of fire and Adam 
out of dust, what could it mean? 

"Describing the beastly traits as creation from fire 
i s exactly an expressi on of their nature of 

61: TafsTr ul-Quran, Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan.vl, p51. 

41 fi 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

originating from internal and external heat. " ^^ 
In the words of Sir Sayyed the whole incident is 
summarized as under: 

"This Trait of mankind has been described by God 
in the metaphor of Garden, hence the entire nature 
has tjeen described in the same metaphor of 
Garden. 'Tree' means reaching the age of 
maturity, eating the fruit is cognition of good and 
bad, covering the body with tree leaves is man's 
concealing his evils. But mankind was not allowed 
to reach the fruit from the Tree of Paradise, which 
proved that his is a mortal existence and not an 
eternal existence." 62 

We do not feel the necessity of any scholastic review on 
these excerpts. 3 

Just go through the story of Adam and IblTs in the 
Quran and try to collaborate it with these interpolations and 
it will become quite_clear what absurdities have been 
attributed to the Quran just by ignoring the established 
principles about discriminating the real from the allegoric 

Similarly, the Quran is full of descriptions about the 
blessings of Paradise. The picturesque gardens, green and 
colourful atmosphere, flowing rivers, elegant houses 
beautiful and pure companions, delicious foods and fruits 

TafsTr ul-Quran, Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan, vl P 159 
63: However, it has jusi reminded us of a famous leader of 
Batmiyyh, named Ubaidullah bin Al-Hasan Al-Qlrwlni who had 
wntten to one of his followers, "I make the bequest that you cast 
doubts and suspicions m the minds of people about the Quran 
Torah, Zabur and Inj.I, invite them .owards rescission of all 
religious laws, and erase the concept of Hereafter. Resurrection 
and Doomsday, Angels in the sky and Jinns on the earth I 
ftirther will that you invite people to the belief that there had 

h " y , 3 mankind that exis "* even before Adam, because 
this will help you to prove this world as immortal." 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 4/p 

have been mentioned in countless verses. But according to 
Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan all this is allegoric and 
metaphoric. The main purpose is to describe a 'high grade 
of bliss and comfort', These things have been described 
only to lure the illiterate people to dedicate themselves to 
worship. He writes: 

"A trained mind thinks that the promises and 
warnings, Hell and Paradise do not exactly mean 
the self-same objects, but the extreme degree of 
happiness and comfort, in similitude, compatible 
to human understanding. This creates an ecstatic 
sense of blessings of Paradise and an urge to obey 
the Commands and abstain from the forbidden. 
The stupid Mullahs or lustful devotees think that 
they would get innumerable beautiful women 
(Hurs), drink wine, eat fruit, take bath in the 
rivers of milk and honey, and shall have all the 
luxuries they. would wish. And due to these stupid 
and frivolous thoughts they keep himself busy day 
and night in obeying the commands and" abstaining 
from the forbidden." 64 

The truth is that if the principle about the Obvious 
and Allegoric, is set aside, there is not the worst of 
superstition and the meansest of action that might not be 
attributed to the Quran. The Batiniyyah had used the 
same tool to prove Zoroasteric belief from the Quran, 
and even today there are many Christian priests who are 
using the distant and irrelevant interpretations of 
Quranic verse to prove that it supports Christian faith. 
Hence, it is ironic that about half the Quran becomes 
comprised of allegories and metaphors. If the growth of 
trees is termed as 'angels', the rivers stand for power of 
'movement', fire is an exp ression for power of heat, 

64: TafsTr ul-Qurain. Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan vl. P 35. 

420 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Adam means 'mankind', lb lis is the word to denote 'evil 
forces', then Hell could mean worldly afflictions, 
Paradise would stand for worldly comforts and even for 
"God" it may be said that, it is not the name of a 
constant existant Being but it represents the reality of 
this universe, that is, matter or energy, and the 
conception of God. given fey the Quran has been 
described by Muhammad ^ to. frighten the Beduins of 
Arabia and call them towards righteous deeds. In this 
way the weapon of 'Allegory and Metaphor' totally 
eradicates belief and religion, and even a belief in the 
existence of God does not remain necessary to practise 
the teachings of the Quran. This is not our hypothesis 
but the Batiniyyahs had actually made such claims 
through unchecked freedom in the use of allegories and 


'Allamah 'Abdul Qahir Baghdadi jO* & ^ writes:' 

"The famous leader of Batiniyyah sect, 

'Ubaidullah bin Al-Hasan Qirwani has written in 

his book that 'reward and punishment of 

Hereafter are absurdities. By 'Paradise' is in fact 

meant the comforts and luxuries of this world, 

and 'Torment' represents the religious devotees 

remaining trapped in the whirlwind of Salah, 

Fasting, Hajj and Jehad." 65 _ 

Hence, if one wants to benefit from the Quran in its 

capacity of the Book of Guidance from Allah, it would be 

extremely irrational, frivolous and risky that if there is 

anything in the Quran against one's own views one may 

open the door of self-invented interpretations and claim 

that distant and allegoric meanings are to be adopted in 

preference to obvious and straightforward meanings. The 

present day authors who have used their pen for the 

65: Al-Rr^ bayn-al-firaq p259. 

— • 421 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

exegesis of the Quran without fulfilling the basic 
requirements of the science of exegesis have very often 
made this fundamental error in their writings. If the above 
mentioned principle is kept in view while reading the 
works of these authors; most of these errors would 
become easily manifest. 


Some writers of the present era sometimes apply 
distant meanings to the texts of the Quran and Hadith on 
the plea that their obvious meanings are against common 
sense and reason. Hence, they must be interpreted in a 
way that is not against reason. Since a great deal of errors 
are being made in this matter, a detailed discussion on the 
subject is being presented. 

First of all, it should be understood that henceforth we 
shall call as 'Recorded arguments' those things that are 
proved from the Qurln and Hadith and as 'Human rationale' 
or 'logic' those things that we find through reason. 

The main reason why misunderstandings arise in this 
connection is explained here. Our scholars have laid down 
in their books the rule that logic will be adopted if 
Recorded Arguments are against them. If the latter are not 
authentically documented they would be regarded as 
incorrect, and if their authenticity is unquestionable it 
would be said that their obvious meanings are not intended, 
and if another meaning can be informally adopted that will 
be taken as the intended meaning. If an informal 
explanation is not conceived it would be said that the true 
meanings have not been understood by us, and the reality is 
best known to Allah. It is this kind of Recorded Arguments 

that is termed as ' MutashabihaT (Doutful). 66 

■ . ■ .■ ■ 

66- Imam Rlzi book As¥s TaqdTs fi ilmal kalam P 72-73, Chapter 
32. Mustafa al-Babi. Egypt 1354 AH. 

422 A . . - 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

The above mentioned rule is well known to scholars but 
due to a lack of true understanding some writers have 
adopted the practice of declaring every such thing as against 
reason which goes against their self-conceived opinion 
while i has been fully explained by those who have framed 
this rule. Let us thoroughly understand this explanation 
Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thlnvi O * ^ has described m 
rule very well in his journal 'Al-lntiba hat-ul-Mufidah..'. 
We shall first mention this rule in his own words 
(translated) as below: 

"There are four possible differences in the 

Recorded argument and Logic or Human 

Rationale. Firstly: Both may be certain and 

decisive. This does not exist nor it can exist 

because opposition among Truths is impossible 

Secondly: Both may be presumptive wherein . 

although a combination is possible through I 

obvious meanings only, but according to the rule I 

of the language weight of the actual words will 1 

be put on the obvious. Recorded arguments will I 

be subjected to the obvious, and logic will not be I 

taken as conclusive. 

Thirdly: Recorded argument may be certain and I 

human rationale may be presumptive. In this I 

situation undoubtedly the former will be preferred I 

Fourthly: Logic may be certain and the recorded I 

arguments be presumptive, proof-wise or I 

reason-wise. Here the former will be preferred and I 

the latter will be subject to interpretation. Hence I 

this is the only situation where reason may have I 

precedence over narration, and thus it canot be I 

used or claimed at every place." 67 

In order to understand this rule it should first be kept in I 

67: Al-Inraba-hat ul Mufidah ma' Hallil-lmibShm vl , ,,66,74. Delhi. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 423 

mind that human rationale or 'Reason' may be of three kinds: 


These are such logical arguments that are absolutely 
conclusive and accepted by all people without the least 
demur. It is absolutely certain that there cannot be 
anything against them. For instance, two and two make 
four, is a conclusive logical argument which can never be 
refuted. Two and two can never be three or five just as it 
is impossible that a man may be present at a place and 
absent too at the same time. 


These are such logical statements that may not be 
absolutely certain but in view of reason and experience 
their truth may be highly probable. All intellectuals do not 
always come together to accept the truth of these 
statements, but differences in viewpoints have arisen in 
these matters due to different times and regions. For 
instance, Newton's Theory of Gravity, Einstein's Theory 
of Relativity, Darwin's Theory of Evolution, etc. 
Obviously, none of these were absolutely conclusive but 
these philosophers had formed an opinion on the basis of 
their intellect and experience which they corsidered to be 
more correct in view of the state of knowledge and 
environment of that period. But this view cannot be taken 
as absolutely correct. That is why many other 
philosophers differed from it. Some particular viewpoint 
captured their minds at a certain period of time but at 
another time the same view was rejected. 


These are those arguments that are based on conjecture 
or imagination rather than certainty or probability. For 

424 Ah approach to the Quranic sciences 

instance, until recently scientists thought that there was life 
on Mars. This was not based on any conclusive or 
presumptive reasons but on imaginary speculations. 

Similarly, Recorded Arguments may also be divided 
into three kinds. 


These are the arguments which are absolutely 
conclusive. Subjectwise their words are clear and 
explicit and their proof is also absolutely reliable. For 
instance, the Quranic injunction lijji \y m js V (Do not go 
even near adultery). This is a certain and conclusive 
argument that adultery is forbidden in Islam, because 
Muslims do not doubt that the Quran is the word of 
Allah, and this verse conclusively proves that the Quran 
prohibits adultery. Similarly, the matters that are proved 
from uninterrupted Prophetic Narrations 68 or absolute 
consensus are of the same kind. 


These are arguments that are not so conclusive as the 
first kind but whatever is deduced from them is correct in 
all probabilities. For instance, such traditions as are not 
uninterrupted but conform to the Principles of Hadith. 
Although it is incumbent to follow them in practice and 


68: Un-interrupted or 'Mutawatir' tradiiions are those sayings of the 
Prophet $!$ which had been reported by so many people at every 
period of time that it would be impossible to consider them all as 
liars. With regard to transmission such traditions are regarded as 
certain and conclusive. But the traditions whose reporters had 
been reduced to one. two or three at a certain period i.e. 
Akhbar-e-Ahad' are regarded as Presumptive, thaf is. their proof 
is not so certain as that of uninterrupted reports. However, if 
they fulfil the conditions of Principles of Hadith most probably 
they are correct, hence there is a consensus of the entire Ummah 
that it is obligatory to adopt them. 

— . - ' 425 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

they should not be opposed, yet they are placed in the 
second grade because their transmission is not as certain 
nd conclusive as the Quran and uninterrupted tradition. 
Hence, if such a tradition goes against the Quran and 
uninterrupted traditions, it would be interpreted in 
conformity with the Quran or uninterrupted traditions. If 
such interpretation is not possible, it would be forsaken. 

These are such recorded arguments whose correctness, 
is not even probable but are based on Imagination and 
speculation, for instance those traditions that do not 
conform to the principles of yaditli. *> 

Of the above six kinds, two (conjectural rat.onaleand 
conjectural recorded arguments) are not reliable at all. 
Hence, we need not discuss ,hem. Keeping the other tour in 
view four possibilities of differences may occur in the 
logical and Recorded arguments. '■'■ '., 

i) The first Possibility is that both (Recorded and Logical 
arguments) may be conclusive. This m only « 
hypothesis. Practically it has never happened so tar. It 
is possible that a conclusive recorded argument may 
contradict a conclusive Human rationale. If at all.t 
appears to be so, then the recorded argument would be 
conclusive only as far as its transmission and 
precedent. But the argument would not be conclusive^ 
And if the argument is conclusive the transmission and 
precedent would not be conclusive. It has never 
happened and shall never happen that a recorded 
argument be conclusive in all senses and yet be against 
J conclusive logical argument: i.e. human rationale. 
ill The second possibility is that the recorded argument 
be presumptive and human rationale be conclusive 
and the two may clash with each other. This is the 

■*26 . 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

situation about which scholars and intellectuals have 
said that reliance will be placed on Logical 
argument (or human rationale, and reason, and the 
recorded argument will be interpreted in a manner 
hat ■ w.ll be ln conformity with the conclusive argument. For instance, the Quran says: 

ar-RahmanJMUh) straightened on the Throne. 
This is a Quranic verse, hence it is conclusive but the 
translate „ not conclusive because the word \sju can 

adomfdr' mea " in8S '" idi ° matiC ArabiC - a " d thc »™™g 
adopted here „ not conclusive. Hence, this is an example of 

has s on th/T men : WhfCh !S PreSUmp[iVe °" a ~™< 
■s rafohtl r • ' he meani " g that iS (>bvious <** 

because ^" ,g w ^ " «** lo8ta " ar S ume '« 

because stra.ghtemng" is a quality of body, and the 

•bod "T: tb r8UmentS , ° f ime " eCt *"- * at A1,ah «• not a 
body In thus way the presumptive Recorded Argument is 

contradictory to Conclusive Logical Argument. Hence the 

and 68 : 71 0t f, Vmma " **~,y adopted the 
and all the scholars agreed that in this verse its obviou 
meaning, are no, intended. Then, S ome of them called i, an 
allegory and said that it signifies power and authority tc 
and some , of them said that this verse is one of those 
mmashabihar (doubtful) about whom Allah has said. 


But none knows its interpretation except Allah. 

(Al-'Imrah, 3:7) 

the SL? connecIion with the aor * " f ™*™*y«. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 427 

C bl , 

Until, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he 
found it setting in a miry spring. (Al-Kahf, 18:86) 

This is also a verse of the Quran, hence undoubtedly, 
the word of Allah. But the obvious meaning of this sentence 
creates an impression that the sun was actually setting in a 
muddy spring, but this is not correct in view of conclusive 
arguments of intellect and observation, because it is a 
reality that the sun and earth are separate spheres which do 
not meet each other at any point. Hence, this obvious 
meaning cannot be adopted. It would mean that the place 
whre Zulqarnayn reached at that time was not inhabited 
beyond and it was all quagmire as far as the eye could see. 
Hence a viewer on that spot would feel that sun was setting 
in that quagmire. Although this interpretation is not as 
obvious from the words of this phrase as the previous one 
but since there is room for it in those words this verse is 
presumptive on the first meaning, and when it is placed 
before the conclusive arguments of intellect and 
observation, they are acceptable and the explanation of the 
verse is unanimously adopted which is in conformity with 
these conclusive arguments. 

The third situation may be that the Recorded argument 
be conclusive and the logical argument or human rationale 
be presumptive. In this case, obviously the Recorded argument 
will be preferred because here the Presumptive Argument 
cannot supercede conclusive argument. For instance, 
Darwin claimed in his Theory of Evolution that the human 
race did not come into existence by itself, but animals 
passed through a chain of evolution with the passage of 
time and as a result they went through many stages until the 
last before transformation into human shape was monkeys 
or apes which ultimately envolved into human beings. 

428 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Obviously, Darwin's Theory was an Imaginative view, 
and the arguments advanced by him (if they can be' called 
as 'arguments') were at the most presumptive arguments. 

But against it the Quran makes an explicit statement: 


i . ■>■< ■ rfy q HHS ■ ■■„ r ', j <■'<' ' a „ _ ■■ 

ii , . i _ , i , ill ■ i ' ' . '" : - 

O mankind Fear your Lord, Who created you froni a 
single person, and from him He created his mate, and 


from the twain He spread abroad many men and won 

(An-Nisa, 4: 1) 
Vitu * R j ' 

and further stated: 

.* ..•>,„• r- ■ i- ■ ■ 

O h*yCJ!>-\ °*-fiS" a5oLLJ1 luliO ^^^ ^ 

And (recall) when your Lord said to the angels, 'Surely 
I am creating a mortal out of a ringing clay of mud 
moulded. So When I have shaped him, and breathed into 
him of My spirit, fall you down before him prostrating 
— so the angels prostrated themselves all together. 

(Al-Hijr. 15:28-30) 

These and similar other verses explicitly prove that 
the origin of mankind was from a single person Sayyidna 
Adam %B whom Allah created from mud. These 
arguments of Quran are conclusive. Hence, they 
absolutely refute the theory of Darwin, and to set aside 
the explicit statements of. the Quran in preference to this 
theory (which could be only Presumptive at the most), 
or seek distant explanations of the Quranic verses cannot 
be correct. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 


. The fourth situation may be that the Recorded 
Argument is presumptive and Logical Argument may 
also be presumptive. Here also the scholars and 
intellectuals are unanimous that the Recorded Arguments 
would be preferred, and until the reason is supported by 
conclusive observation, it would not be proper to read in 
the Quran and tfadith anything but the apparent 
meaning. The reason is the same as has been described 
in detail under the heading "The Quran and Allegory". 
Not only in the Quran but in any discourse anywhere, 
the rule is that the real and not the proverbial meaning is* 
adopted unless there is a compulsion. If a conclusive 
Logical Argument is against the obvious meaning the 
compulsion is obvious and in this situation adoption of 
Proverbial meaning is understandable. But if the Logical 
Argument is presumptive, adoption of proverbial or 
distant meanings do not form any compulsion, because 
the Presumptive Logical Arguments are never universal 
or eternal. One person may accept it and another may 
reject it. It may be commonly accepted at one time but 
may be called aberrance at another time. The history of 
philosophy and Science is full of many views of this 
kind. A philosopher at one time believes in a particular 
view and considers his presumptive arguments superior 
to all other arguments, yet another philosopher exactly 
at the same time considers an antagonistic view as 
correct and pleads the arguments related to it. As time 
passes on, it is found that the arguments of the earlier 
philosophers were all baseless and wrong. It is difficult 
to estimate how many such Presumptive Logical 
Arguments were subsequently rejected on the basis of 
Conclusive Logical Arguments or explicit observation. 
But in the fourteen hundred years, we will find only one 
or two cases of presumptive Recorded Arguments 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

contradicted by Conclusive Logical Arguments. Hence if 
the door of interpretations in the Recorded Arguments is 
opened on the basis of every Presumptive Argument of 
Intellect, the result will be nothing but to turn the Qurln 
and Qadith into plaything. Mawlana Hifzur-Rahman 
Siyuharvi has written an excellent note as under. 

"In fact Islam teaches (hat for such scientific discussions 
wherein the subject has reached the stage of certainty 
and observation, and Quranic Sciences and Divine 
revelations do not contradict them (because the Quran 
never contradicts Observation and the obvious) they 
should be accepted without hesitation because denial of 
such realities would be nothing but prejudice and 
short-sightedness. And the subjects that have not yet 
reached such limit of certainty and resolution as to be 
called observation and self evident they should not be 
given allegorical meanings in the Quran, and attempts to 
mould them according to the latest Researchers are not 
lawful. One should wait for the time till those subjects 
expose their realities in a manner that their denial would 
mean the denial of observation and self evident, because 
this is an undeniable fact that the scientific observations 
had to be given up a number of times but the Sciences of 
Quran have never had to change." 69 

Hence the fundamental principle is that in case of a 
contradiction in the Presumptive arguments of Reason and 
Records, preference will be for the Recorded Presumptive 
Arguments, and it will be incorrect to seek uncommon 
explanation for the Recorded Arguments on the basis of 
Intellectual Presumptive Arguments. However, we must 
remember Presumptive Arguments by themselves are not 

69: Qasas-ul-Qurih vl, p49. the story of Sdam m. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 431 

all alike, but they lie in different grades. Accordingly some 
presumptive arguments are more forceful than others. For 
instance, it is presumptive that the earth revolves and it is 
also presumptive that a creation "Neanderthal" 70 existed in 
this earth before mankind. Obviously, the force attained by 
the former is not attainable by the latter. Also, take the 
example of a Presumptive Recorded Argument quoted in 
Satiih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and all other books of Hadith 
and an argument that is recorded with authentic narrations 
and precedents but not quoted in the popular books of 
Hadith. Obviously, the former will have a greater force 
than the latter. Similarly, there may be different grades in 
the presumptive arguments. 

Now, if there is an Intellectual Presumptive Argument 
of first grade and a Recorded Presumptive Argument of 
second or third grade a scholar may prefer the former to 
the latter and interpret the Recorded Argument in a manner 
that though it may sound uncommon in reflection to 
obvious meanings of the words yet in conformity with 
Logical argument. However, this interpretation should not 
be described in a conclusive and established manner until 
that Logical Argument is proved by Observation or 
certainties. Rather it should be said that it is cited as an 
explanation which is more reasonable in view of Logical 

But since it is difficult to bring these' grades of 
Presumptive Arguments within the framework of 
established laws it is not for everyone to decide which 
presumptive argument is in what grade. Such a decision can 
be made only by a person having full grip on the Recorded 
and Logical Arguments, and a deep insight in the Sciences 
of the Quran and Hadith. In this matter, sometimes the 
opinions of scholars also differ. 

70: Encyclopaedia Britannica 1950, vl4. p764. Topic 'Man'. 

432 An approach to the\Quranic sciences 

This will be better understood by an example. The 
Quran states that when Zulqarnayn constructed the wall to 
stop Gog and Magog, he said: ,^ 

jlTj ,JT* <W ^ ap_j ,L^ UU ^j ^ ^-J ,J -* 

"This (wall) is a mercy from my Lord, but when the 

promise of my Lord comes to pass. He shall make it 

into powder, and the promise of my Lord is ever true. 

(Al-Kahf, 18:98) ' 

• '■',• 

In interpreting this verse most commentators have 
said that by "promise of my Lord" is meant the Last 
Day and the phrase means that the wall will break when 
the Last Day is near and Gog and Magog will come out. 
Although the Quran has mentioned the words "promise 
of my Lord" and not explained it further but since this 
phrase has been used in the Quran at many places in the 
meaning of "Last Day", the commentators have adopted 
the same meaning here. So, this interpretation is not 
conclusive but presumptive. 

On the other hand, geographical and historical 
researches indicate that the wall of Zulqarnayn has broken 
down long ago. Even this research is presumptive because 
the exact, conclusive and certain location of this wall is 
very difficult. 

However, a person who is dexterous enough to 
compare Logical and Recorded Argument and also has a 
true insight in these matters may conclude that these 
historical and geographical findings are grade one 
presumptive, and the above interpretation of the verse is 
grade two presumptive, Hence, in view of these findings 
there is no harm in concluding that "Promise of the Lord" 
in this verse may also apply to the time when the wall was 

;■ ■ . . " .....•':. .-..■- 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 433 

predestined by Allah to break. Anwar Shah Kashmiri has 
expressed his inclination towards the same interpretation 
that Zulqarnayn did not mean to point to a sign of the end 
of the world, but it was a general statement that the wall 
would break when the Lord would like, and the coming 
out of Gog and Magog towards the approach of the Last 
Day mentioned in the Quran has nothing to do with the 
breaking of this wall. 71 

But, as stated above, this grading of the Presumptive 
Arguments is very delicate and it needs due and relevant 
proficiency and insight in the Logical and Recorded 
knowledge. Hence a great deal of caution, understanding 
and fear of God is needed, and a hasty decision through 
glitter of a prevalent theory often leads a man astray. 

This has been the correct approach in recognizing 
logical and Recorded Argument that the 'ulama have 
adopted. There has never been an objection on it. 



A very unfortunate use of reason and intellect in the 
exegesis of the Quran is to deny a religious injunction 
proven in clear and explicit words simply because we 
cannot understand the underlying wisdom behind it. The 
preponderance of western thoughts these days has led 
people to resort to self interpretation even in the explicit 
Quran and Hadith commands on which the Muslim Ummah 
has had a consensus over the last 1400 years, simply 
because these are against their temperament. They advance 
the reason that the religious laws are no_ longer expedient 
for our times. For instance, the Quran has explicitly 

71: 'AqTdat ul-Islam fi tfayat Isa f *~J<u* ._Mawlana Anwar Shah 
Kashmiri, pi 97. Nafhat ul-Anber, Mawlana Muhammad Yousuf 
Binori, pi 58, Qisas ul Quran. 

4 $ 4 All approach to the Quranic sciences 

proclaimed the punishment for theft as under. 

CL$jj$ fjikili 4i ; lljr. 'jj\lJ\\ 

And (as for) the thief, man or woman, cm oil the hands 
of both... (Al-Ma'idah. 5:38) 

The Western writers have been raising objections over 
this and other punishments proclaimed by Islam, and 
amputation of hands of the thieves is being termed as very 
severe, rather beastly. Hence the Modernists in the Islamic 
world who are ever apologetic to Westerner's objections are 
anxious to find ways of amending those Islamic 
punishments to please them. Hence they have been 
constantly trying to distort the meaning of the above verse. 
One of our contemporary writers has gone to the extent of 
writing in one of his articles that in this verse 'thief means 
'capitalists' and amputation of hands means 'to seize their 
factories.' According to him the verse does not describe the 
punishment for the thief but advocates that all the industries 
owned by capitalists must the nationalized! 

The same applies to those people who are anxious to 
allow usury, gambling and intoxicants etc in some form or 
the other. Their argument is that the prohibition of these 
things in the present time is unreasonable. • 

Hence, as a matter of principle we must understand 
what the relation between the religious injunctions and 
reason is. What is the scope of reason and intellect in 
religious injunctions and what are its limitations? 

The fact is that all the command's -.of ..the Quran and 
Hadith are in conformity with commonsense, and each of 
them can be shown with irrefutable arguments that there 
is no better way to reform and prosperity for men. 
However, since there are many misunderstandings in this 
matter, this discussion will have to be divided into several 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 435 

points. Here, are a few introductory remarks and only 
after a full understanding thereof can a correct result be 
achieved. But those who really want a satisfactory 
research in this matter are requested that they should not 
make a hasty decision after reading just one part of this 
discussion, but they must once read the entire discussion 
with full attention and a cool mind. 


As has been stated above, no doctrine of the Quran 
and Hadith is against commonsense. But we find that the 
intellectual level of every person is different from the 
other. So, which of them should discriminate good from 
bad? If decision of the matters of the world and law 
making is done by unchecked reasoning which is free 
from all kinds of religious restrictions, the world would 
face an anarchy leading to total destruction of humanity. 
The reason is that if human mind is freed from all sorts 
of limitations and restrictions, it would also be unable to 
prove those moral realities which even a child of noble 
character recognises. For instance, having illicit 
relations with one's real sister is such a repulsive crime 
that no religion or people would tolerate it so much so 
that even the worst of the apostates regared it as 
deplorable. But if you set to prove this act to be 
unlawful on the basis .of free and unchecked reasoning, 
it would not be possible to do so. On the basis of pure 
intellectual reasoning the question that whenever a sister 
does every thing to give comfort to her brother, 
including cooking meals for him, preparing his bed, 
sewing his clothes, nursing him in sickness she is looked 
upon with praise and honour in the society. But if the 
same sister offers herself to her brother to satisfy his 
sexual lust, she receives the curses and abuses of the 

436 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

whole world. If the matter is left to be decided on the 
basis of pure and unchecked mental reasoning she can 
rightly ask why sexual comfort is denied to her brother 
when he can receive other comforts from her? Within 
the limitations of moral and social values this question 
appears to be alarming, rather repulsive but a mind that 
does not bind itself to any limitations cannot be satisfied 
simply by telling it that this act is morally very 
repulsive. The question is what is wrong about it purely 
from intellectual point of view? You may say that it 
might lead to the problem of racial intermixing. But in 
the modern days of birth control this problem would not 
arise, and supposedly racial intermixing does occur you 
have to prove on purely intellectual grounds that this is 
a bad thing. A free thinker may say that there is 
nothing against racial intermixing and it is only a 
religious and moral taboo. 

One might say that this is an extreme degree of 
shamelessness. But pure and free intellect would say that 
these concepts of modesty and shamelessness have been 
invented by religion, morals or society. From the 
intellectual point of view it is strange that if a woman 
marries a stranger and submits herself to him she is 
considered modest, but if she submits herself to a person 
with whom she has spent her childhood and youth, she 
would be charged with obscenity? You might say that 
human nature is against this act, but a free mind would 
say that there is no intellectual argument for it to be 
unnatural. In fact this appears unnatural because society 
has condemned it for many centuries. If these social 
bonds are broken and purely intellectual thought is 
applied there would be nothing bad in it. In short, if you 
want to solve this problem on purely intellectual 
grounds, it will never be solved. 

All approach to the Quranic sciences <*37 

And this is not just an hypothesis. Now-a-days this free 
thinking has already raised several such questions. In olden 
days also whenever anybody tried to solve social problems 
through pure intellect and free thinking he got lost in the 
labyrinth of intellectual questions and answers. A study of 
the Batiniyyah sect is a living example. A famous leader of 
this sect 'Ubaidullah bin Al-Hasan Al-Qirwa"nT has written 
in his book' As-Siyasatu wal-balagh-ul-Akid wan Namus 

al- A zam. 

"Who can be more surprising than those 
people who claim to possess intellect yet they 
act foolishly. They have a beautiful sister or 
daughter but hold it unlawful for themselves to 
have sex with her and hand her over to a 
stranger. If these fools had used their 
intelligence they would have realized that they 
themselves more deserved their sister or 
daughter than a stranger did. In fact the reason 
for ignorant behaviour is that their teachers 
and guides have prohibited them the pleasures 
of this world. 72 " 

No matter how many curses you may hurl on this 
base and repulsive idea, yet you will not be able to give 
a convincing argument to refute it purely on the basis of 
intellect. The fact is that all those intellectuals of the 
world who plead for free thinking even together cannot 
give a satisfactory intellectual argument against this 


The disgusting fact here is that this 'Ubaidullah 
Qirwani was not an open rejector of the Quran, but like 
others of the Batiniyyah. he used to interpret it on the 
basis of unchecked free thinking. And he claimed that the 
obvious meanings of the Quran are not the intended 

72: Al-Farq baynal-F 11-30 Abdul Qahir al-Baghdadi. p29. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

meanings but it ,s all allegoric and metaphorie expressions 
or parables. 

Likewise, it would not be possible to prohibit sexual 
abuse through pure intellectual reasoning because reason 
cannot answer the question what is wrong with sex with 
mutual consent of man and woman? It is on this argument 
that mutually agreed fornication is not unlawful in Western 
Laws. Rather, quite recently the British Parliament 
legalized voluntary homosexuality and the members 
applauded the legislation! 

The reason for this law-making again was that on the 
basis of pure intellect there was nothing wrong in this 

This is not surprising because, it is an essential 
attribute of man-made laws that they have always failed to 
guide man to peace and tranquility. The reason is obvious- 
the mtellectual level of everyone is different from every 
other. Even if a general trend of a time may unite the 
people of that time to realise the good or bad of any act 
the mental caliber of another time may form a different 
opinion for the same act, because intellect has no way to 
determine values. 

Hence, despite innumerable intellectual arguments over 
several years, legal experts have been compelled to concede 
that they have been unable to decide what standards to fix 
for evaluatmg the good or bad of a thing in the process of 
law-making? A renowned legal expert of our time Dr 
George Whitecross Paton has said: 

"What interests should an examplary legal 
system protect? This is the question of values in 
which legal philosophy plays its part... But 
however much we desire the help of philosophy, 
it is difficult to obtain. No agreed scale of 
B* values has ever been reached indeed. It is only 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 439 

in religion that we can rind a basis, and the 
truths of religion must be accepted by faith or 
intuition and not purely as the result of logical 
arguments." 73 

The same author continues to describe a very 
interesting story of those opinions and thoughts which 
different thinkers have expressed about the purpose of 
Law. its philosophy and its moral bases, but these 
opinions and thoughts have been so contradictory to each 
other that he stated: 

"What should be the purpose of Law? In this connection 
the opinion and concepts are as numerous as the number 
of authors on subject, because ii will be exceptional to 
find such writers as may 1101 have laid down an 
exemplary aim for the statute." 

He further details how the philosophers of Law, in 
every period of time, had been increasing the complexities 
of this entangled string through the efforts of their intellect 
and thinking. 

In the end he writes: 

"The Orthodox natural law theory based its absolutes on 
the revealed truths of religion. If we attempt to 
secularize jurisprudence, where can we find an agreed 
basis of values." (pi 26) 

In short, if intellect is allowed a free hand by setting 
aside the guidance of Divine Revelations, there will be no 
basis left for discriminating good from bad or vice versa. It 
will have mankind in such a dark abyss of aberrance and 
foolishness where even a tiny ray of reform or guidance 
could not enter. The reason is that human intellect without 
the guidance of Divine Revelation (Wahy), although 
regarded as Tree and indepen dednt'. yet it becomes a slave 

73: Paton: Jurisprudence 3rd Edit 1967. pl21. 

440 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

to man's sensual desires which is the worst form of mental 
servitude. Those who claim to follow pure intellect and 
reason in everything are actually suffering from the highest 
degree of self-deception. Those who openly admit that their 
intellect is not independent but a slave of their sensual 
desires are more courageous and truthful. A group of 
modern thinkers is mentioned in the discussion of 
philosophy of Law. Their philosophy is known as Non- 
cognitivist Ethical Theory. In the words of the famous legal 
expert of our time Dr. Friedman this philosophy is 
summerised as under: 

"Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions 
and can never pretend to any other office than to serve 
and obey them." 

Dr. Friedman concludes the results of this thinking: 
"A simple injunction, modesty, yawning, rather the 
concepts of good or bad, or (he phrases like fc ought' and 
* worthy' are purely emotive and there cannot be such a 
thing as ethical or moral science." 74 

Notwithstanding their philosophy, what they say is 
correct that independent of Divine revelation {Wafiy) there 
remains nothing of reason or moral. After that man's 
existence, his deeds and actions are all governed by his 
passions and desires and they take him wherever they 
want to. Even if his conscience pricks, he is not able to 
go against his passions. In England the step to legalise 
homosexuality was taken in the same state of compulsion. 
Some thinkers disliked it and even the conscience of the 
movers of the law was not satisfied. But as slaves to their 
passions, they could not set aside the demand for this law. 
How a d m onish i n g .., are the following words of 
recommendation of Wolfenden Committee on the basis of 

74: Friedman: Legal Theory, London 1967 p36-37. 

— . 441 

An approach to the Quranic sciences •*•* 

which this law was passed: 

"Unless a deliberate attempt is made by society i^^ 
acting through the agency of the law to equate 
fear of crime with that of sin, there must remain 
a realm of private morality and immorality 
which in brief and crude terms is beyond the 

law." 75 

But the Quran which will not leave mankind wandering 
in the labyrinth of passions, and which is a guide to the 
clear and straight path, is explicit that man's natural 
disposition is bestowed on both, good and bad passions. It 
will not leave its followers in frightful darkness. In its 
terminology independent reasoning free of guidance from 
Wahy is termed as caprice (Hawa), and about which it has 
stated as under: 

w .- 

y,j >jfiO WjtUi ^-^-a -pXr^i iwi & h 

And had the truth followed their caprices, the heavens 
and the earth and whosoever is between them would 
have certainly corrupted. (Al-Mumineen, 23:71) 

«p> & a & •<# & '*> & > & ^ 

Is he who has a clear proof from his Lord like those to 
whom their evil deeds are made alluring and they follow 
their caprices? (Surah. Muhammad. 47:14) 

awr, «i> *Jo ujr> *> *3s i*&J ^ y^" u '-> 

75: Friedman: Legal Theory, London. 1967 p46. 

442 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

And obey not him whose heart We have made to neglect 
Our remembrance and his affair has become all excess. 

(Al-Kahf, 18:28) 

So let not him, who believes not in it, and follows his 
own caprice, bar you from it, lest you perish. 

(Ta-Ha. 20:16) 


** - m " * 

4J| [y, ^J^ J^ olyj, ^J| ^^ ^p,| V.'^ 

And who is more astray than he who follows his caprice 
without any guidance from Allah? (Al-Qasas. 48:50) 

Therefore you (O Prophet) invite them to this (religion) 
and be steadfast as you are commanded" and follow not 
their caprices. (Ash-Shuri", 42: 15) 


if&A ^r^ u tf 351,3 -£$,. cjkS 

Is it then that whensoever there came to you a 
Messenger with what your souls desired not, you 
showed arrogance. (Al Baqarah. 2:87) 

In short, Islam is not based on an intellect that is a 
slave to caprices, but on the intellect that is bound by 
guidance from Allah and is aware of the limitations of its 
activity. And this is what forms a balanced mind. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 443 



This does not mean that the commands proclaimed 
by Allah are against the intellect. But the fact is that 
the commands of Allah fully conform to common 
sense, and experience shows that there can be no 
better means to reform and prosperity. Hence every 
command of Allah has many expediencies in it and 
benefits for mankind. But it is not essential that our 
limited faculty of reasoning should encompass those 
expediencies. Who can comprehend the knowledge 
and understand the wisdom of the Creator of universe 
Who has before Him all that is present in the earth 
and skies and all the events of past and the future? 
Hence it is quite possible that we do not understand 
the wisdom behind an injunction of the Quran and 
Sunnah. But this does not mean that we reject the 
injunction because of that. If man had been able to 
know what benefits him there was no need to send the 
Messengers and Divine Scriptures. This was done 
only to educate mankind on matters the cognition of 
which is not possible through intellect alone. Hence, 
if one believes in Allah. His Omnipotence, His 
limitless knowledge. His Messengers and the Divine 
Scriptures revealed by Him. one cannot escape 
admitting that it is not essential to know the 
expediencies of His injunctions. It will not be a 
reasonable attitude to reject such of His injunctions as 
are beyond one's intellectual comprehension. 

This can be well understood through an example. 
Everywhere in the world the laws the law-makers have 
their reasons for framing, the laws and it is in accordance 
with them that the law is enforced. But it is not necessary 


An approach to (lie Quranic sciences 

that every individual of the country be aware of all the 
considerations of that law. Evidently a majority of 
people are not aware of the merits of the limitations 
imposed through such a law. Can the law made by the 
best brains of the country, after due consideration of all 
its implications, be said to be worthless or wrong 
because a few illiterate rustics cannot comprehend the 
advantages of that law? If an ignorant person refuses to 
comply with the law simply on the basis that the 
expedient advantages of that law are beyond his 
comprehension, his place would be nothing but prison. 

Besides, one can conceive some relationship 
between the knowledge of an illiterate person and an 
expert in law, but no relationship can be established 
between the limitless knowledge of the Creator of this 
Universe and an ordinary human being. How can it be 
appropriate for a man to reject an explicit Command 
of Allah or interpolate and misinterpret it on the 
ground that he cannot understand the advantages 


There has always been a consensus in every period of 
time that religious injunctions do not depend on their 
expediences but on the motives behind it. There are many 
people in our time who do not understand the difference 
between "Expedience (Prudence)" and "Motive*'. It seems 
proper to clarify this briefly. 

"Motive" is an essential cause for enforcement of 
Law. It is like an obvious sign which bids the followers of 
that law to comply as soon as they have observed the 
sign. "Expedience" is the advantage and consideration 
before the law makers when framing the law. For 
instance, the Quran has proclaimed prohibition of 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 4*5 

alcoholic drinks, and made intoxication as the essential 
basis of prohibition. Any drink that causes intoxication is 


There are many expediencies in this prohibition, one 
of which is that intoxicated people may not indulge in 
such acts as are against human dignity and honour. In 
this example the Quran's expression "Abstain from 
(alcoholic) drinks" is a command 'Intoxication' is the 
motive of the command, and preventing people from 
evildoings on losing their senses is the expedient in it. 
Now, the command of prohibition would depend on its 
motive, that is, Intoxication, and anything that causes 
intoxication would be considered as forbidden. The 
command would not depend on the expedient behind it. 
Hence, it is wrong for anybody to plead that he should 
not be forbidden alcoholic drinks because he does not 
lose his senses or gets out of balance after taking it. Or 
if it is argued that at present advanced methods of 
brewing alcoholic drinks have minimized the harmful 
effects and a large number of drinkers do carry out their 
normal duties without suffering intoxication, hence it 
should now be permissible, obviously this plea would 
not be accepted. 

Similarly, the Quran and Sunnah command their 
followers that during a journey they should offer only half 
of Salah (which is known as 'Qasr' j~o5) to alleviate their 
worship. In this example 'Qasr' j-ai is a command, 
journey is its motive and saving from hardship is the 
expediency. Now, the command will depend on its 
motive, that is, the journey and not on the expediency. 
Hence if some one says that now-a-days due to aeroplanes 
and comfortable train coaches, the journey has become 
easy and the hardship of earlier times does not exist, 
therefore the command for "Qasr" no longer exists, his 

446 A " approach to the Quranic sciences 

plea would not be accepted. As slaves of Allah our task is 
to obey the Command on its motive. To keep in view the 
expediences and considerations in obeying these 
commands is not our prerogative. 

This rule does not apply only to Islamic Laws, but it 
is practiced in all the prevalent laws of today. For 
instance, the government has made a law, in order to 
check traffic accidents. When a red light is seen at a 
crossing, every vehicle must stop. Here "stop" is a Law, 
red light is its motive, and prevention from accidents is 
the expediency behind the law. Now the command will be 
obeyed on its motive, the red light, and not on the 
expediency of prevention from accidents, [f a driver feels 
that there is no apparent danger of an accident and 
violates the red light, he will be a law-offender and liable 
to punishment. Hence it is essential to stop at the red light 
even if there is no danger of an accident. 

Thus, observance of the laws depends on the motives 
and not on expediencies. When this holds good for the 
common laws of the world, the commands of Allah 
deserve all the more to be so respected. One reason for 
this is that we cannot comprehend all the expediences of 
every religious law; hence if the injunctions are 
subjected to expediences it is possible that we may 
choose only a single benefit while there may be many 
other expediences too. The second reason is that 
expedience is generally not an unchanging thing so that 
every one may take his own decision in dealing with a 
particular strategy. If an injunction is held dependent on 
expediences, the laws can never be implemented because 
then every person would be free to make an excuse that 
he did not comply with such and such order because its 
expediences were not obvious. For instance, if every 
driver is given the freedom to decide at a crossing 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 447 

whether there is a danger of accident or not and he 
would stop when he sees a danger otherwise he may 
proceed even on a green light. This will only result in 
extreme degree of misrule and maladministration. 
Similarly, if the prohibition of wine is dependant on its 
expediency rather than motive (intoxication), then every 
one will say that he is not liable to the prohibition 
because he is not intoxicated and his work is not 
hampered. The prohibition will then be played with. 

Contrary to this, the motives of all the commands 
are so evident that every one can see that a motive 
exists, and hence defiance of law can be easily 
checked. It is only through subjecting the laws to their 
motives that social administration, peace and 
tranquillity, and law-abiding spirit can be produced in 
this world. 

It is for this reason that many scholars of Muslim 
Ummah have written voluminous books to explain 
expediences and strategies behind Islamic injunctions, and 
have told about every injunction as to what benefits can be 
derived from it. But neither has anyone claimed that he 
knows the expediences of all Islamic injunctions nor has 
anyone suffered from the misunderstanding that the 
injunctions will be obeyed after considering the 
expediences and strategies behind them. For instance, 
Shah Wali Ullah Dehlavi wrote his book Hujjat-ul-lahil 
Bal-ighah for tfie sole purpose of clarifying the 
expediences inherent in religious laws and he has 
categorically refuted those who deny the expediences of 
religious laws. But alongwith it he states: 76 

76: Hujjat-ul-lahil Balfgah, Maktaba Salfiyah, Lahore, 1395, AH vl, 
pi 29. Also chapter Bab-al-Farq Bain-al-Masaleh wal Shara'i. 

448 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Uy^. jJbJl »ij* Jjj jj iiJi3jJj U^ip ^ Ua^p jJj! jJl-wj 

_ <JLaI ^*p ^Jlp Aj 

"It is certainly not right to hesitate in complying with 
authentic religious injunctions because we do not 
know expediences behind them. The mental calibre of 
many people is such that they cannot comprehend 
many of these expediences and for us the Holy 
Prophet <H is more reliable than our intellect. That is 
why attempts have always been made to protect this 
science (of expediences in religion) from incompetent 



Another thing to be kept in view about the 
injunctions of the Quran is 'worship of Allah* The 
Quran says: 

& a o _, o ss 

* * * 

And I have not created the jinn ajnd mankind but to 
worship Me. (Az-Zariyat, 51:56) 

And the way of such worship has also been clarified by 
the Quran, that it depends on total submission to Allah and 
His Messenger $1. It says: 

Follow (O mankind) what has revealed to you from your 
Lord, and follow no protectors besides Him. (Al-A'raf, 7:3) 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 449 

O my people! Follow the Messengers. Follow such as 

ask of you no reward, and they are rightly guided. 

(YasTn. 36:20-21) 

And follow the best (the Quran) that has been revealed 
to you from your Lord. (Az-Zumar, 39:55) 

ISOaJ tj*?tj o°^tJl$ ^ij^ dUjit ^^ *^J 

And this (Quran) is a blessed Book that We have 
revealed, so follow it, and be God-fearing that you may 
be shown mercy (Al-An'am. 6:155) 

Jiti J^5S ^ili ^6 ^ji jJjSOj Jjl ijlfii 


©5*_Jt« 4JL<*A5^ 

Therefore believe in Allah and His Messenger, the 
"Ummi" Prophet who believes in Allah and His words 
(Commandments): and follow him.... 

(Al-A'raf, 7:158) 

It is Quran that has clarified the purpose of man's 
creation and subjecting him to different commands is to 
see who follows Allah and His Messenger and who does 

450 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Llli v jl*»-l J^ji rO-Q oG-Jl'^ o/yjl j^U- I^JJl 

(Allah it is) Who created death and life, that He may try 
you, which of you is best in conduct. (Al-Mulk, 67:2) 

of & s s a 

gZ m J* jUkJ Uj Qi Ci^T ^1 aJCiii U^- Cj 

And We appointed not the Qiblah which you (O 
Prophet) have had except in order that We might know 
who followed the Messenger, from him who turned back 
on his heels. (Al-Baqarah, 2:143) 

And when the duty of man is just to obey Allah and 
His Messenger, and histrial is based on this obligation, 
it becomes obligatory on him to submit to whatever 
explicit Command he receives from Allah. Thereafter he 
is not entitled to accept it if he likes it, and reject if he 
dislikes it. 

And it is not for a believing man or a believing 
woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a 
matter, to have the choice in their matter. 

(Al-Ahzab, 33:36) 

Hence if someone hesitates in accepting the explicit 
command of Allah and His Messenger on the plea that he 
is unable to comprehend the strategy and expedience in it, 
he is in fact following his passions or the devil rather than 
his intellect. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 451 

And among mankind is he who disputes concerning 
Allah, without knowledge, and follows every 
rebellious Satan. (Al-Hajj, 22:3) 

Such a person will be a loser not only in the Hereafter 
but also in this world. 

And among mankind is he who worships Allah upon the 
very edge — so that if good befalls him he is contented 
with it, but if a trial befalls him he turns round on his 
face. He loses this world and the Hereafter. That is 
indeed a manifest loss. (Al-Hajj, 22:1 1) 

Hence, although every commandment of Allah and His 
Messenger has behind it countless expediences yet it is not 
for man that he should know the real purpose of compliance 
to these commands. Like a true servant of Allah his real 
object should be obedience to Allah, His pleasure and 
submission to His Commandments. When prohibition of 
usury was revealed, the disbelievers objected to it and said: 

i j * - 

**2^ \fj\ y^ yji cji iyi5 

They say "Trade is just like usury." 

(Al-Baqarah, 2:275) 

Many intellectual arguments could have been given 
against this saying and the difference between trade and 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

usury could have been explained. But ignoring all that the 
Quran gave one genuine reply: 

But Allah has permitted trading, and forbidden usury. 

(Al-Baqarah, 2:275) 

So, when Allah permitted one thing and forbade the 
other, there remained no room for intellectual arguments It 
should be sufficient for you that the two of them have 
different injunctions. 

The Qura~n has described the story of Adam and IblTs 
at tens of places. In this incident, it has been mentioned 
that , n refusing t 0j prostrate before Adam, IblTs argued 
I am better than Adam. You created me from fire and 
h.m from mud." What is wrong in this argument from 
the point of view of reasoning? But, the same 
Intellectual argument became the cause of his disgraceful 
expulsion from Paradise. The reason was that 
submission to one's own arguments after receiving clear 
and explicit injunctions from Allah is in fact 
enslavement to one's passions. 


So, when man is obliged to submit to the 
commands of Allah the simple way to do it is to adopt 
the obv.ous meaning in the clear and explicit 
commands of the Quran and Sunnah. Misinterpretation 
and interpolation should not be done simply because 
the obvious meanings do not please oneself. Allah has 
revealed His Book for our guidance and also because 
we cannot comprehend His commands only through our 
intellect and reasoning. If we read our own meanings 
in the interpretation of the Quran, we will be following 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 453 

our own whims and the purpose of the Quran will be 


The Quran is an extremely exalted Book, but the 
case with man-made rules is that as soon as they are 
passed by Parliament, judges become bound to follow 
them as they are. Even if a law appears to be wrong in 
a judge's knowledge and experience, he is compelled to 
follow it as it is. There is no room for him to make 
such interpretations of law which are not obvious from 
its words and phrases. In the present 'Principles of 
Law" there is a constant discussion on 'Interpretation 
of statutes'. The summary of this discussion, as 
adopted from A Text Book of Jurisprudence by Paton is 

as under: 

"Three fundamental rules have been suggested 
for the interpretation of statues in English 
law-suits. The first principle is called "Literal 
Rule'. It means that wherein the meanings of a 
legal clause are quite obvious it will be taken as 
it is, irrespective of its result. The second 
principle is called 'Golden Rule' which means 
that the words of the statute will always be 
given its common meanings unless it creates 
confusion or it openly clashes with other clauses 
of the Law. The third principle is called 
'Mischief Rule' which emphasises on 
determining as to what is the general policy of 
this Law and eradiction of which mischief is 
aimed at." 
Further on, this third principle has been explained by 


"The concept that the intention of the Parliament 
and the purpose behind that must be followed 
does not allow us much liberty with the words of 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

the statute. This is because it is an established 
fact that the subjective intention of Parliament 
cannot be considered while interpreting the 
statutes. Rather, even the intention of the 
Parliament has to be derived from the statute 
framed by it." 77 

This is the state of Law which human intellect has 
drafted and about which the experts of Law themselves 
admit according to Paton. 

It would be exaggerative to say that every man has 
a valid reason for each of his action. On the 
contrary, it happens very often that we perform an 
act and think later. This attitude is not confined to 
the situations similar to jumping away to a side to 
save ourselves from a speeding car, but very often 
it also occurs when we create social customs and 
habits. Rather, if a reasonable policy has already 
been framed at the time of forming a statute or an 
institution, even then it happens quite frequently 
that the result of such a staturte is quite different 
from the purpose which prompted the formation of 
that statute. 78 

But a judge, despite knowledge that the required result 
cannot be achieved from the existing structure of Law, is 
bound to obey the law as its words present it. He has no 
right to mould it through meanings not obvious from the 
words even though they may be nearer to the required 
results. Rather, as Paton says: 

"If unjustified laws are in force somewhere, the 
legislature can abrogate them but the judge is 
bound to follow those laws no matter how much 

77: Paton. A Text Book of Jurisprudence. p217. 
78: Paton, A Text Book Jurisprudence p21 . 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 455 

he dislikes the rules of such laws." 79 

A judge is not a law -maker but interpreter of Law. His 
status is not that of framer of laws but of one who obeys 
the Law, and he can interpret it only within the limits of 
obedience. He has no authority to cross those limits over to 
Reform and Amendment. 

This is the state of those man-made Laws wherein 
thousands of possibilities of intellectual errors exist in 
which neither the Law-maker is above suspicion nor can 
mind and thoughts of the Law makers be said to be free 
of errors. There is no guarantee too, that they have given 
due thought and consideration to all possible results of 

that law. 

Then again, these are the laws made by men who do not 
even know what changes the coming days would bring, nor 
do they know whether their expected results would be 
achieved through this Law or not. 

So, when obedience to the Laws made through 
conjecture and assumption is so essential, what reason, 
moral and justice would support the idea of seeking 
uncommon and ambiguous meanings to one's liking or 
disliking in the laws made by the Creator of this universe. 
He is the CreatorWho is fully aware of changing 
circumstances of time, and Who knows the benefits and 
losses of man and expediences in it? 


Another misunderstanding must also be removed 
here. Now-a-days it is common to hear almost every 
modernist say that no Law should ever be static but it 
should be dynamic in accordance with the 
circumstances. It is particular with Modernist mind that 

79: Ibid p2 11 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

if anything is bad in some sense then it is bad in every 
sense. Its very name becomes an abuse. And if a thing 
is good, it will be valued highly and its use here and 
there becomes a fashion. The same is the case with the 
terms Static and Dynamic. To denounce the former and 
praise the latter has become the scientific fashion of 
today. Every Modernist will detest everything called 
Static and shall rejoice with the label of Dynamic on 
anything. That is why no moral or religious idea in the 
ideological system of the west has remained static. 
Rather they have subjected it to grinding on the lathe 
of Dynamism, and no religious belief or moral 
principle has escaped it. 

The fact is that neither the continuous Static condition 
is beneficial for mankind nor a perpetual Dynamic state 
Whereas in order to lead a good life in this world, man 
needs to keep changing his practical strategies, it is also 
essential that he should possess some principles and laws 
which should not be altered under any circumstances. At 
any period of time, even the biggest power on earth 
should not amend it, otherwise under the camouflage of 
change beastly and sensual desires can take him to the 
extreme limits of mischief, violence and moral bankruptcy 
where he would take off all the garments of human 
morality and join the ranks of nude animals. If there be 
freedom of changing at will, every intellectual principle, 
every moral system and every legal order by labelling it 
as Dynamic, the result cannot be anything except the 
moral destruction, human degradation, anxiety and 
agitation that has become the destiny of the Western 
society of our time. 

When it is agreed that all intellectual principles and 
legal orders should not be dynamic but there must be 
some laws that should never change, the only problem 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 457 

remains to chose the orders of the law that should 
remain Static and which of Dynamic. If this problem is 
considered by pure Intellect' the limitations therein have 
already been thoroughly exposed. Even if we try, we can 
never achieve such static rules and laws which would be 
unanimously accepted by all human beings. This is 
because the intellectual decisions and results of 
individual thinking are different from one another. Thus 
one person or group would resort to one principle as 
static and a second person or group to another, and the 
problem will remain as it was. Hence the solution to this 
problem lies in seeking guidance from the Being Who 
created mankind, and also knows the secrets of their 
inner selves. The way to seek this guidance is to turn 
towards His revelations and to the traditions of His 

Prophet «jH§. 

When we turn towards the Quran and Prophetic 
traditions we see that they clearly and explicitly describe 
injunctions but are content to describe the broad 
principles only in some cases, and avoid subsidiary 
details. The Quran and the Messenger of Allah, 
Muhammad M are not confined to any region or time 
but cover every place and time, the injunctions that do 
not change with time have been described in the Quran 
and Hodith clearly and explicitly and sometimes their 
subsidiary details have also been determined. Contrary 
to this, as for the injunctions that were liable to be 
affected by the change of time, the Quran and Prophetic 
Traditions describe some general universal principles in 
the light of which learned persons of every time may 
determine and establish the subsidiary details. 

Thus the injunctions that are explicit in the Quran and 
tjadith, and on whom the Ummah has had a consensus, 
are absolutely unalterable and obligatory for every period 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

of time. If that were not so they would not have been 
explicitly ordained through the Quran and tfadith. 
However, those injunctions which are not explicitly 
ordained in the Quran and Traditions and there has not 
been a consensus of the Ummah. there is room for ijtihad 
in accordance with the principles of the QurTn and 
Traditions of the Prophet. Changes of times can influence 
such injunctions and it is about these injunctions that the 
jurists have said: 




"Injunctions keep changing with the change of 

If on the other hand, there was room for alterations 
and amendments with change of time in the clear and 
explicit injunctions of the QurTn and Prophetic 
traditions, there was no need for sending the Messengers 
and revealing the Divine Scriptures. Just one injunction 
would have been sufficient, 'Formulate your own 
injunctions and Laws according to the circumstances of 
the time.' Hence, the person who points out at changes 
of Tune in spite of clear and explicit injunctions of the 
Quran or, on the same basis, is eager to give 
self-conceived meanings and alter and interpolate the 
explicit injunctions of the QurFn and Prophetic 
Traditions, he is in fact unaware of the basic purpose of 
sending the Prophets and of revelation of Divine 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 459 


At this stage it is essential to have a clear 
conception of what is meant by "change of time." The 
change of time that influences the religious injunctions 
is that change due to which the Motive of an 
injunction changes. For instance, jurists of earlier days 
ruled that if a person hires a horse and does not settle 
with the owner of the horse what distance he would 
travel on it and what the fare would be then this deal 
would be void and unlawful. But now-a-days with the 
invention of metered taxis this injunction does not 
remain valid. People do not settle anything with the 
taxi-driver before sitting in it, and none of them knows 
what the total fare would be, yet this dealing is lawful. 
The reason is that the Motive behind the maxim 
described by earlier jurists, according to their 
statement was a great possibility of dispute between the 
parties concerned if the fare and distance were not 
settled beforehand. Now the time has changed and with 
the invention of metres the practice has become that the 
parties agree to go by the metre. Hence the chance of a 
dispute does not exist, which was Motive for making 
the deal as unlawful. Thus, with this change of time 
injunction also changed. 

Contrary to this, when the motive of injunctions is 
unaffected no change in the injunctions can be made on 
the basis of general trend of the Time. There is no room 
in Islam for the concept that if an evil spreads it should 
be endorsed as lawful and permissible, and if the good 
things are abandoned, they should be forsaken. This 
defeated mentality ultimately leads to the very 
passion-worship against which the Quran has been 

80: For the meaning of "Motive" see page 445'. 

460 A" approach to the Quranic sciences 

revealed and to free from enslavement of which the Holy 
Prophet $| was sent. 


The summary of the above discussion is that it is 
not at all correct to seek distant and uncommon 
meanings through distortion and interpolation of the 
Quran and Prophetic Traditions after being impressed 
by general trend of the times or to present an excuse of 
change of Time. The injunctions explicitly ordained in 
the Quran and Prophetic Traditions are those which are 
not affected by the change of Time, no matter how 
strange and alien they might appear to those influenced 
by changes in Time and wave of passions. Hence, on 
these occasions introducing intellectual explanations in 
religious injunctions is not common sense but is 
slavery to passions which is nothing but extreme 
veering off the path. 

The fact is that commonsense itself demands that 
the limits of human brain should be recognized and no 
such burden beyond its endurance be put on it. In this 
universe, the capacity and capability of everything 
except Allah has some limitations beyond which it does 
not work. Intellect is also a component of this universe 
and its capabilities are also not unlimited. Allah has 
guided mankind through Divine Scriptures and 
Prophets towards the same realities and injunctions in 
search of which human intellect could stumble. Hence, 
to forward intellectual expediences against the explicit 
injunctions of these Scriptures and Prophets is like 
testing an aeroplane engine on the principles of train 

In the end, it is also essential to keep in mind that the 
above discussion does not at all mean that intellect is left 

Ait approach to the Quranic sciences 461 

with no application in human life after having established 
Faith in the Quran and Traditions. The reason is that, of 
all the deeds which a man has to face, there are very few 
which religion has decreed as obligatory, incumbent, 
traditional, desirable, forbidden or detestable. But there 
are innumerable actions which have been termed as 
allowable. It is the sphere of these allowables which forms 
an expansive ground for reason and intellect wherein 
religion does not interfere. To adopt one or to leave 
another of these allowables has been left to the descretion 
of intellect and reason, the use of which can take man to 
highest achievements of material progress and scientific 
discoveries, and allow him to reap rightful benefits out of 
them. As against this, interference with the Divine 
injunctions has resulted in the scientific and technological 
advancements to have caused torment and disruption 
instead of benefiting mankind. This has resulted from the 
fact that the burden placed on intellect had been beyond 
its capacity, and which a human being cannot bear without 
absolute submission to Divine Revelations. 

The great scholar of the philosophy of history Ibn 
Khaldun has given a very beautiful description in this 
connection, as under. 81 

l>j ^>\j <viAJ ^U^, J* ^^\ ^i <d\L>* j ibUip! ^ 

0I>* J5J1 J, «fj\^j JiJl J ^li S& ^-Jj sDJj* 

81: Muqaddamah, Ibn Khaldun. 

462 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

01 £*JaJ <i_~*AJl dj jjjj (_£JJt 0l>Jl (_?Tj J^rj Jli- ^JJi> 

_ Ojjk> (_£-l*^> V_J O-llP i_AAJ l \ji*i\ •^J ^J^L^S 

"Hence you are wrong in relying on your knowledge 
and information (whatever We know encompasses the 
knowledge of all creation) but you must follow the 
beliefs and deeds explained by the interpreter (the 
Prophet 2fg) because he is your greatest well-wisher and 
knower of your welfare. His knowledge is higher than 
yours and is obtained from a source better than the 
sphere of your intellect. And this is not a defect for 
intellect and its know-how. Rather, intellect is in fact a 
correct criterion whose decisions are certain and free of 
falsehood. But this criterion is not large enough to allow 
you to weigh the matters of unity of Allah, Prophethood, 
attributes of Allah or any other thing which is outside 
the scope of reason. It is like a person may wish to 
weigh a mountain on the scale that weighs gold. 
Evidently (when the mountains would not weigh in it,) it 
would not be said that the scale is false. But ituiould be 
said that every seale has a limit beyond which it cannot 
work. Similarly the scale of human intellect also stays 
still at a certain point and cannot cross its limits." 

Similarly, the Quran and Prophetic Traditions have left 
many things to the deliberation and deductions of the 
jurists,. Hence, for those who are competent in this task, 
deduction of injunctions in the light of Quran and 

All approach to the Quranic sciences 463 

Traditions and laws of religion provides another vast field 
for the use of intellect and reason. Jurists in all times have 
been tried for their genius in this field. However, one 
should not be tempted to interpolate the Quran and Hadith 
and try to weigh a mountain on the scale for weighing gold. 

To end the discussion we quote "All amah Shabbir 
Ahmad 'Uthmani: 

It is not the intention to decry thought and reason as 
useless and absurd. Or that their application is a religious 
sin. But yes! We do not permit an individual that he should 
put his inept reasoning and intellect at par with the pure and 
clear, true and accurate, high and exalted teachings of the 
Prophets f">LJ\ ^s- on which very often his own conscience 
pricks him from inside. Against this it is essential that man 
should base his intellectual knowledge on the sayings of 
Allah and His Messengers and submit to them. Whatever 
they have said, he should take it as the panacea or cure ste't 
the diseases of his soul and submit to it by all means 

I hear it, and I submit to it. 

r ^>^- <0 ^^.^1 U Ajo ^ aUI ^ Oyr^. cS-^b 

And those who argue concerning Allah after He has 
been acknowledged, their argument is void with their 
Lord, and upon them is wrath, and for them is a severe 
chastisement. 82 (As-Shura, 42: 16) 

82: AI-'Aql-wan Naql, Mawlaria Shabhir Ahmad Uthmani p95. 
Idarah Islamiyat. Lahore 1396 AH. 



We had intended to describe a detailed and expansive 
history of the Science of Exegesis, but due to several 
reasons the idea had to be abandoned. In addition, proper 
books on this subject have been published too. 83 Hence, 
instead of a complete history of the Science of Exegesis 
we wish to give a description of only some commentators 
belonging to the first era and whose references occur in 
very large numbers in the books of exegesis. The purpose 
of this description is that if the following discussions are 
kept in view while making an exegesis of the Quran, it 
will be easier to make true deductions from the sayings of 
these people. 


There is of course a large group of the Companions of 
the Holy Prophet $H who are known for their service to 
exegesis of the Quran. But among them 'Abdullah bin 
'Abba's 4&> has attained a distinctive position. The basic 
reason is that Holy Prophet <H had specifically prayed for 
proficiency in exegesis for him. It is related in several 
traditions that the Prophet $§ placed his hand on the head 
of 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas 4$£> and prayed: 

83: For instance, TarTkh ul-Quran and TarTkh at-TafsTr, Professor 
Abdus. Samad Sarim. 

466 An approach lo the Quranic sciences 

O Allah give him the comprehension of religion and 
bestow on him the knowledge of exegesis. 

And at another time the Prophet $g said, 

84 _ «u* y^>\ j <ui &J* f*-$^ 

O Allah give him abundance in it and spread Your 
religion through him. 

And according to some narrations the Prophet ^g 
addressed him in the words 

85 _ oJl o~\jm}\ 0U-?7-y lj<i. 

You are a good interpreter of the Quran. 

That is why the Companions used to remember him 
with the titles of oTyJi JU*-y (Interpreter of the Quran), 86 
j^\ (great Scholar), _^vJ' (Ocean of Knowledge). Even 
eminent Companions used to turn towards him in matters of 
exegesis despite his young age, and his opinion was widely 

He has himself said, "After the death of the Prophet ^ 
I said to one of the Ansars that there were still a number of 
Companions alive, so we should seek knowledge (of 
religion) from them. He replied, 'Do you think that people 
will need your knowledge (for which you are preparing 
from now)?' And hence he did not accompany me and I set 
on the task alone. I used to go to different Companions and 
learn many things from them. Some times I would go to a 
Companion and if he was resting at noon time I would wait 

84: AI- Isa bah,Hailz Ibn fclajar v2. 

85: Al-Itqan v2 pi 87. Ref: Hilyatul Auliya, Abi Nifaym. 

86: Ibid. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 467 

outside his door while hot wind used to blow sand on my 
face when the Companion used to come out he would say, 
'O cousin of the Prophet H why did you trouble yourself? 
You should have sent for me and I would have come to 
you* I replied, 'No, it was my duty to come to you.' Then I 
used to ask him about the Hadith for which I had gone to 
him. This practice continued. The Ansar Companion who 
had refused to join me in this campaign lived a long time 
afterwards until he saw me in the state that people had 
surrounded me and were asking me questions. At that time 
he said. This young man was more clever than me.*" 87 

'Ubaidullah bin 'Ali bin Abi Rafi' has stated that Ibn 
'Abbas used to go to Abu Rafi" 4fe and ask him what did 
the Prophet <H do on such and such day? With him used to 
be another man who used to write whatever was said by 
Abu Rafi' -fe. 88 /^^ 

A time came when there was always a large number of 
students around him and he taught them the exegesis of the 
Quran, the Prophetic Traditions and Juridical maxims etc. 89 

It was for these reasons that 'Abdullah bin -Abbas was 
called " Imam-ul-Mufassirln" (The leader of commentators) 
and a great many narrations have been quoted from him in 
connection with exegesis of the Quran. However, a large 
part of these narrations are weak in authenticity. Hence, in 
order to benefit from his narrations they must be verified 
according to the rules of Hadith. Certain things in this 
connection must be remembered — They are, 
1: The most reliable narrations of Ibn 'Abbas are those 

reported in the sequence of Abu Salih from Mu'awiyah 

bin Salih from 'Ali bin 'Ali Talha from Ibn 'Abbas. In 

87. Al- (,sabah._v2, p323. Ref: Musnad DaramTand Musnad iTarith 

bin Abi Usamah. Tazkiraiul Huf't'az. ZaJibi vl. p38. 
88: Ibid. Masnad Ru'yani. 

89: Al-f§abah. v2, p325. Al-lsii^ITb ahT Hamish Al- Isiibah v2, 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

the times of Imam Aljmad a collection of exegesis of 
Ibn 'Abbas was available in Egypt with this line of 
transmission. Imam Ahmad used to say about it, "It 
will not be extraordinary if anyone travels to Egypt 
only to obtain a copy of this exegesis." Later on, 
however, this transcript became extinct but many 
commentators and Traditionists have reported excerpts 
from it in their books. Imam Bukhari has quoted many 
of its narrations in his Sahih, and Hafiz Ibn JarTr, Ibn 
Abi Hatim and Ibnul Munzir have also reported many 
narrations in the same sequence. 90 
2: A misunderstanding by Goldzi'her: At this point it 
would be proper to invite attention to a 
misunderstanding created by the famous Orientalist 
Goldzi'her in his book "Mazahib ut TafsTr-al-Isfami", 
as is to be expected. 

"The Muslim critics of tjladith themselves admit 
that 'Ali bin Abi Talha" himself did not hear these 
exegetic remarks from Ibn 'Abbas which he has 
mentioned in this book. This is the verdict of the 
Islamic critics of tjladith about the collection of 
exegesis of Ibn 'Abbas which is regarded as most 
acceptable." 91 

But Goldziher has omitted to say that whereas expert 
critics of Hadith have written that while Ali bin Abi Talha 
had not heard these narrations from Ibn 'Abbas, 'Ali bin 
Abi Talha had adopted some of these reports from Mujahid 
and some from Sa'id bin Jubayr. Hafiz Ibn Hajar states. 92 

90: Al-ltqan, v2, pl88. 

91: Madhahibut TafsTr ul Islami. Goldziher. Arabic iranslation 

Doctor Abdul tfallm Najjar. p98. 
92: Al-ltqan v2 pi 88. TahdhTb ut TahdhTb v7, p239. 

An approach io the Quranic sciences 469 

When intermediate link is found and is reliable^no 
problem then remains. 

Apart from this sequence of *Ali bin Talha" the 
narrations of Ibn k Abbas have other narrations which are 
either absolutely correct (sahih) or good (Hasan) They are 
for example. Abu Thaur from Ibn Jurayh from Ibn 'Abbas 
or. Hajjaj bin Muhammad from Ibn Jurayh from Ibn 
4 Abbas, or Qays from fc Ata' bin Saib from S 4 ad bin Jubayr 
from Ibn 'Abbas, or Ibn ul Ishaq from Muhammad bin Abi 
Muhammad from'lkrimah or Sa'id bin Jubayr from Ibn 
* Abbas, etc/ 

3: The narrations of Ibn 'Abbas reported from following 
sources are weak. 

a) Muhammad bin Sa'ib Al-KalbT from Abi Salih from 
Ibn 'Abbas; and when Muhammad bin Marwa"n-as- 
Suddyyi-as-SaghTr reports from KalbT this is regarded 
by authorities as a false sequence. Of the 
commentators Th'alaba and Wahid! have reported a 
vast number of narrations from this sequence. 

b) Dahhak bin Muzahim from Ibn "Abbas. This is weak 
because Dahljak is not known to have met Ibn 'AbKas 
and if Bishr bin "AmmaVah from Abi Ruq be the 
reporter from Dahhak, the sequence becomes weaker 
because B ishr bin "Ammarah himself is weak, and if 
Juwaibir be the reporter from Dahliak it becomes 
weaker because Juwaibir is most unreliable. 

c) 'Atiyyah al-'Aufi from Ibn "Abba's: This is weak 
because of low profile of 'Atiyyah al "Aufi. However, 
some poeple consider it as good (Hasan) because 
TirmizT has appreciated the reports of "Atiyyah. A 
detailed discussion in this matter will follow in the 
report on *At iyah al-*Aufi." 

470 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

d) Mucjatil bin Sulayman from Ibn "Abbas: This is also 
weak due to low profile of Muqatil whose state will 
be discussed later. 93 


4: A book by the name oi \ Tamlr-ul-miq'yas fi Tafslr Ibn 
'Abbas has been published in our times which is 
generally considered as exegesis of Ibn "Abba's. Its 
Urdu translation has also been published, but it is 
wrong to ascribe it to Ibn 'Abbas because this book has 
been based on the reported sequence of Muhammad bin 
Marwan-as-Suddy from Muhammad bin Sa"'ib 
al-Kalbl from Abi Saleh from Ibn 'Abbas. 94 
We have stated in the foregoing lines that this has been 

regarded by Traditionists as a "chain of falsehood" and 

hence cannot be relied upon. 



Sayyidina 'Ali_^b holds a very high place in the 
exegesis of the Quran. Since the first three caliphs had died 
early, only a few exegetic narrations have been reported 
from them, but Sayyidina Ali 4fe remained busy in the 
learning of Islam for a very long time and there are many 
narrations reported from him. His eminent position in the 
Science of Exegesis can be estimated from the fact that Abu 
Tufayl says: 

"I saw 'Ali delivering an address in which he said, 

'Ask me questions about the Book of Allah. 

^because. By God! There is no verse of the Quran 

about which I do not know whether it was 

93: This complete report is adopted from al-Itqan v2. pi 88- 1 89 See 

also the report on the narration that follows. 
94: TanwTr al Miqyas. pi . 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 471 

revealed at night or during the day. on the ground 

or on the mountain". 95 

Since Sayydina Ali 4& had settled in Kufah (Iraq), his 
teachings mostly spread in that area, and most of his 
narrations have been reported by people of Kufah. 


He is also one of those Companions from whom a large 
number of exegetic narrations have been reported. In fact 
narrations are even more than Sayyidina "Ali ■*$& Hafiz Ibn 
JarTr etc. have reported him saying as under: 

*'By the Being save whom there is none worthy of 
worship, I know of every verse of the Book of 
Allah about whom it was revealed and where it was 
revealed. If I know the address of a person who 
knows the Book of Allah more than 1 know. I will 
certainly go to him provided the camels can reach 
that place." 96 %C/ 

The famous T'abi'T Masruq bin Al-Ajda* states 
'Abdullah bin Mas'Ud used to recite a Surah before us and 
spend most of the day in its interpretation and relating 
Prophetic Traditions about it." 97 

And Masruq has also said "I had been benefitted from 
many Companions, but after deep thinking found that the 



Al-Itqah v2. pi 87. 
Al-Itqan v2. pi 87. 
TafsTr Ibn JarTr vl, p27. 

472 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

knowledge of all the Companions was limited in six of 
them, namely, Sayyidina 'Umar, Sayyidina 'Ali. Sayydina 
'Abdullah bin Mas'TTd, Sayyidina Zayd bin Tha~bit, 
Sayyidina Abu Darda and Sayydina Ubayy bin Ka'b ^^>j 
*$■*• J^>- Then I pondered again and found the knowledge 
of these six dependent on Sayydina 'Ali and Sayyidina 
'Abdullah bin Mas'ud 4fe." 98 


He is also one of those Companions who were 
renowned in the science of Exegesis and Recital. The 
Prophet ^ had said about him. 

The greatest Recitor (among the Companions) is 
Ubayy bin Ka'b." pk 

His eminent status can be assessed from the fact that the 
great commentator Sayydina 'Abdullah bin 'Abba's took 
lessons from him. Sayydina Mu'ammar states. 

"Most of the learning of Ibn "Abba's have been 

derived from 'Umar, "Ali, and Ubbay bin Ka'b 
.*. «io« 

There are some reports that indicate that he was the 
first commentator whose exegesis was compiled in book 
form. There was a large transcription of his book from 
which Abu Ja'far Razi used to narrate from Rab'i bin 
Anas from AbT-Al-' A"liyah.' Ibn JarTr, Ibn Abi Hatim, 
Ahmad bin Hanbal and Hakim have reported from this 

98: Muqaddmah Nasbur-Rayah. al-KauthaH vl, p30. 
99: Tazkiratul Huffaz Zahably I . p38. 
!()(): Tazkiraml Hulfaz by ZahbTvl. p38. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 473 

transcription. Hakim had died in the year 405 AH., 
hence this transceiption was present upto the 5th century 

Hijri. 101 

In addition to the above mentioned Companions, 

narration related to exegesis of the Quran have also been 

reported from Zayd bin Thabit, Mu'az bin Jabal, 'Abdullah 

bin 'Amr, Abdullah ibn Uinar, Sayyidah 'Ayshah, Jabir 

Abu Musa Ash'arT, Anas and Abu Hurayrah jus Ai ^e>j 

pi • 

101: Al-Itqan. v2. pl89 



The Companions ^^^VniJii^j of the Holy Prophet 
had established centres at different places for the teaching 
of the Quran. As a result of their teachings and training a 
large group of their followers were able to render 
prominent service to the Science of Exegesis. A brief 
introduction to some of them is given here, because they 
are frequently referred to in the books of exegesis. 


His full name is 'Abul Hajjaj Mujahid bin Jabr-al- 
MakhzuYnnBorn 21 AH. Died 103 AH). 102 He was a 
student of 'Abdullah bin 'Abba's and was his favourite 
pupil. He read the Quran thirty times with him and learnt 
its exegesis three times. Qatadah said about him. 

Mujahid is the greatest of the living of exegettes. 
And Khasif has said 

"Mujahid is the greatest scholar of exegesis." 104 

It is said that a collection of his exegesis is still safe in 
the KhadTviyah Library of Egypt. 10 *** 

Although Mujahid is among the Tabi'Tn (followers of 

102: His father was Jabr or Jubayr. iTah/Tbul-Asma. Nawawl v2. 

103: TahzTb-ui-TahzTb vlO. p43. 
104: TazkiralHil-Huffaz by ZababT. vt, p86. 
105: Tankh-ul-TafsTr by Abdus Samacl Sarim. p78. Delhi. AH. 1355. 

476 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Companions) yet the Companions used to respect him. He 
has himself stated: 

_ LS ^>J^±> y* Olio <u-b-M jl Jjjl ^Jl _j_ r »-P ( ^jl c-?c«5 

"I remained in the company of Ibn 'Umar and I 
wanted to serve him, but he used to serve me." 106 

Sayyidina Ibn 'Umar 4>& once held the stirrup of his 
horse and said, "How I wish that my son Salim and my 
slave Nafe' had a memory like you." 

He died in the year 103 AH while he was in prostration 
(Al-Bidaya wan-Nihayah by Ibn KathTr. V.9, P. 224.) 


He is a renowned follower of Companions. He took 
lessons from 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas, 'Addullah bin 'Umar, 
'Abdullah^bin Zubayr, Anas, 'Abdullah bin Mughfal and 
Abu Mas'ud al-Badri. 107 

He is known for his dedication and piety. Very 
frequently he used to weep during Salah at night so much 
that it resulted in a weak vision. 108 

Hajjaj bin Yusuf martyred him in 94 A.H. which 
incident is well known in history of Islam. On the desire of 
caliph 'Abdul Ma"lik bin Marwan he had written an 
exegesis of the Quran, which the caliph had kept in safe 
custody in the royal treasury. After a time this exegesis 
came into the hands of 'Ata' bin Dinar (Died 126 AH) who 
used to narrate from this exegesis as "Mursals" 109 from 

106: Hilyat-ul-Auliya by Abi Nu'aym v3, p285.286. 

107: Tahzib-ul-Asma' wal-Lughat by NiTwTvI. p216. 

108: Hilyat-ul-Auliya, v4, p272. 

109: TalizTb ut Tah/Tb: v7, p!98, 199. about Ata bin Dinar. Mursal is 
a Saying of the Prophet where either the medium of companions 
is missing or narrators after the followers of Companions are 

An approach to the Quranic .sciences 477 

Sa'Td bin Jubayr. Hence all the narrations of Sa'Td bin 
Jubayr quoted by 'Ata~' bin Dinar are termed by the 
Traditionists as "Wijadah" and are not much reliable. 

Many of Sa'id ibn Jurayr's narrations are Mursal (that 
is medium of Companion is missing). But his Mursal are 
reliable. Yahya" ibn Sa'id has said: 

"1 like Sa'Td bin Jubayr's Mursals more than those of 
'Ata and Mujahid." 110 Jf± 

3: 'IKRIMAH #^ 

He is known by the name of 'Ikrimah Mawla Ibn 
'Abbas. He was a slave presented to Ibn 'Abbas as a gift 
by Husayn bin Abi-al-Har Al-'Ambari. Ibn 'Abbas worked 
very hard to educate him and then freed him. Apart from 
Ibn 'Abbas he has reported narrations from Sayyidina 'Ali, 
Hasan bin 'Ali, Abu Hurayrah, Ibn 'Umar, 'Abdullah bin 
'Amr, Abu Sa'Td Khudri, 'Uqbah bin 'Amir, Ja"bir, 
Mu'awiyah and some other Companions. 111 

'Ikrimah himself stated that he spent forty years in 
pursuit of knowledge. 112 Thus he travelled to Egypt, Syria, 
Iraq and even to Africa. il3 Imam Sha'bT had stated that in 
his time there was no scholar of the Quran greater than 
'Ikrimah. 114 Qata"dah stated that four persons among the 
followers of Companions were the greatest scholars. 'Ata, 
Sa'Td bin Jubayr, 'Ikrimah and Hasan BasrT. 115 


Some Traditionists have made certain objections on 
'Ikrimah. The famous Orientalist Goldzi'her has tried to 

1 10: TahzTb ut TahzTb. pi 4, v4. 

Ill: TahzTb-ul-TahzTb v7, p264. 

112: Tazkirat-ul-Huffaz by Zahbi vl. p90. 

113: Al-bidayah wan-Nihayah by Ibne KathTr v9, p245. 

114: TahzTb-TahzTb V7 p. 266, and MiftiThus Sa'adah, v.l, p410. 

115: Ibid. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

blow out of proportion these objections and attempted to 
create anjmpression that even this renowned student of 
Ibn 'Abbas was not reliable in exegetic narrations. 116 
But the fact is that scholars, after thorough scrutiny and 
research, have refuted these objections, tfafiz Ibn Hajar 
has made a vast and elaborate discussion on this subject 
in Muqaddimah Fat!)-ul-B~ari. He has stated that several 
Tradtitionists have written books on the explanation of 
•Ikrimah and have scrutinised objections raised against 
him. They include Hlfiz Ibn JarTr, Imam Muhammad 
bin Nasr Maruzi, Abu "Abdullah bin Mandah, Abu 
Hatim bin Hibban and Abu 'Umar bin 'Abdul Barr. IJ7 
Then Ibn Hajar has said that the objections being raised 
against 'Ikrimah depend on three allegations. Firstly, 
that he had attributed some wrong things to Ibn 'Abbas. 
Secondly, by his belief he was a KharijT (Schismatic). 
And thirdly, he used to accept gifts and rewards from 
rich people. 

As far as the third allegation is concerned that he 
accepted gifts and rewards from the rich people, it is not a 
valid reason for rejecting his reports. As for the other two, 
Ibn Plajar has concluded that these allegations could not be 
proved at all. Whatever incidents have been attributed to 
him have all been scrutinized and investigated one by one 
in full detail, and refuted with arguments by FJafiz Ibn 
Hajar. For instance, the allegation of falsehood is based on 
a misunderstanding, that some times he heard a narration 
from two different persons, and on one occasion he quoted 
one of them and on another occasion he quoted the other 
person while reporting it. On this, some people thought that 

116: Mazahib ut TafsTr ul Islami, Goldoziher.Arabic translation Dr 

Abdul Halim an Najjar. p95. 
117: Hadi as Sari (Muqaddamah Fath al Ba~ri, Hafiz Ibn Hajr, v2 

pi 92, Chaptar 9. letter Aiii ( *>.) 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 479 

he used to invent Hadith although both narrations were 
correct. He himself has said: 

J J#&t W <^ Cl* Jj& &® ^J* ^ 

These people who falsify me in my absence why do 

they not falsify me on my face? 

He meant to say that he would explain the fact if they 
talk to him face to face. 

Similarly, Ibn Hajar showed that the allegation that he 
was a Khariji could not be proved through any authentic 
source. However, in some juristic cases he had adopted the 
views which were similar to those of Kharijis. It was_due to 
this fact that some people alleged him to be a Khariji. 

Imam Tjli says, 

. ^J.y Su£ ^yuU ^a U*LP Al3\ ^>j ^U- <y\ Jy» -^P^- 

" 'Ikaramah is the freed slave of Ibn 'Abbas, belongs 
to Makkah, and is a reliable follower of Companions. 
He is absolved of the allegations of being a Khariji 
which people have brought against him." 

And Ibn JarTr TabarT has said, 
"If a person, to whom a wrong belief has been 
attributed, could be declared unacceptable for 
testimony on this basis, we shall have to abandon 
most of the Traditionists because almost all of 
them are attributed things they did not like." 

That is why almost all the scholars of Hadith 

118: These sayings arejeported by hlali/ Ibn fclajar. Details may be 
seen in Hadi as Sari. v2. pi 92- 196, Chapter 9. 

480 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

(Traditionists) have cited narrations from 'Ikrimah. Imam 
Bukhari is very strict in matters of scrutiny of Traditions 
and had dropped all doubtful reporters, yet he has adopted 
'Ikrimah's reports in his SahTh. About Imam Malik it has 
been said that he did not like 'Ikrimah, but in the chapter 
Kitabul Hajj he has quoted 'Ikrimah's report. 119 It is also 
said about Imam Muhammad Ibn STrTn that he used to taunt 
at 'Ikrimah, but Khalid al-Hazza has stated as under: 
Every such tradition about which Muhammad bin 
STrTnjsays: S-Wp ^ J* *=■**' (It is reported from Ibn 
'Abbas) he had heard it 'Ikrimah. He did not name 
him because he personally disliked him". 120 
In short, it is a proved fact that 'Ikrimah's reports are 
acceptable and most scholars of Hadith have quoted him 
without any hesitation. 


Here it seems appropriate to point to a confusion in 
the mind of Goldz'iher. He has narrated an incident that 
when 'Ikrimah died there were not enough people even to 
carry his coffin. On the other hand, a famous poet 
Kuthayyir 'Azzah also died the same day and in his burial 
a large group of Quraysh was present. Goldziher has 
inferred two things from this incident. One, that in those 
days Muslims in general had a greater regard for a public 
poet than for the Traditionists and two, that people of 
Arabia considered a slave (even though he was freed) to 
be far inferior to a pure Arab. 121 

But this imaginative expression of Goldziher is based on 
the malice and prejudice so he never felt ashamed of 
circulating unconfirmed reports. The fact is that the very 

1 19: Tarikh-ul-KabTr by Bukhari v4, p49 rele 218. 

120: Al-bidayah wan-Nihiyah v9, p245., and Hadl us Sari, v2, pi 94. 

121: Mazahib ut TafsTr 1 1 IslamT, Goldziher, p95, 96. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 481 

story is baseless that there were many people in the funeral 
of Kuthayyir and almost none in the funral of 'Ikrimah. 
According to Ibn Hajar. 

ON c^ji. pJ 2u.j£^ \jfj _> ^ 5jLl>t \j J^-i p-p\ JiJ (^JJij 

_ p-~oj»J a15LJ 

"And the report that people participated in the bier 
of Kuthayyir and not of 'Ikrimah has not been 
proved because this has been narrated by an 
unknown person. " 122 

And even if we accept the fact that very few people 
were present in the burial of 'Ikrimah, it is not surprising 
in view of the circumstances under which 'Ikrimah had 
died. In every historical narration it is mentioned that the 
government had issued orders for his arrest, due to which 
he had gone into hiding and died in that state. Obviously, 
very few people must have got the news of his death and 
hence the low attendance. No wise person can deduce from 
this that he enjoyed less respect in the eyes of the people 
than a poet. In the unbiased historical expressions it is 
explicitly mentioned that it was on the lips of people in 
general that: 

_ ^Ul ytilj ^Ufl .Oil ^U 

Today the greatest jurist has died and also the 
greatest poet. 123 

Noteworthy is the ridiculous trend of research by the 
Orientalists that they are quick to infer on the basis of a 
minor unauthentic incident. The question arises: Was the 
bier of 'Ikrimah the only thing to test the respect of people 

122: TahzTb-ul-TahzIb v7, p273. 

123: Al-bidayah wan-Nihayah v9. p245. 

482 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

for the Traditionists? Do the innumberable incidents of the 
lives and deaths of hundreds of thousands of other 
Traditionists throw no light on this subject? Is this the only 
incident in the history to determine the behaviour of general 
public with scholars of slave origin? Do they not get any 
guidance in this subject from the extreme popularity and 
respect attained by thousands of slaves, other than 'Ikrimah, 
after their scholastic achievements? Did 'Ikrimah not get 
great respect when he was alive? 

In fact, reference to such baseless allegations in a 
scholarly book is nauseating. 124 

Here we have mentioned them so that the low standard 
of research and the way of thinking of those people who 
remain busy to satisfy their passions of malice and 
prejudice, should also be known to our readers. 

4: TA'WUS^Allia 


His full name is 'Abdur Rahman Ta'wUs bin Kaisan al 
Himyari al Jundi. He belonged to the city of Jund in 
Yemen. He was also a slave. He attained his education 
from 'Abdullah bin 'Umar, Zayd bin Thabit, Zayd bin 
Arqam and many other Companions. But his narrations 
reported from Sayyidah 'Ayshah i$* M ^j and Mu'az bin 
Jabal and the Caliphs are 'Mursal'. In his time he was 
famous for his piety and dedication to Allah apart from his 
scholastic and eminent status. He performed Hajj forty 
times. Imam ZuhrT has said, "If you had seen Ta'wus you 
would have agreed that he canot tell a lie." 'Amr bin Dinar 
has said about him, "I have not seen a person more 
unconcerned about the property of others." 125 

124: We will shortly see the report on the funeral of Ta'wus and the 
lives of Traditionalists about many of whom were slaves 

125: TahzTb ut-Tahzib, v5. p9-10. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 483 

'All amah Nawawi writes. "There is a consensus of all 
the scholars that he was highly honourable, venerated, full 
of dignity, excellence of knowledge, piety, power of 
memory and cautious approach. M s yafiz Abu NiTaym 
Isfahan! has described his virtues and piety and his writings 
in great detail in Hilyat id Awliyg. He died in Mina or 
Muzadlifah in the year 105 AH. And every class of people, 
from government officials to scholars and saints and the 
crowd participated in his funeral. The attendence was so 
large that the Caliph had to send the police to control it. 
Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin al Hasan bin v Ali bin Abu Talib 
kept his bier constantly on his shoulder even though his cap 
fell down and his shirt was torn. 127 


During the era of Tabi'Tn (followers of companions) 
four dignitaries by the name of "Ata" had been very 
popular. They were 'Ata bin Abi Rabah. Ata" bin Yas ir, 
"Ata" bin al-Sa'ib and "Ata' al-KhurasanT. The first two of 
these are unanimously regarded as "reliable" and there 
had been some comment on the other two. But whenever 
only "Ata is written in religious books it refers "Ata" bin 
Rabah only. His full name is Abu Muhammad "Ata" bin 
Abi Rabah Al-MakkT Al-QurayshT. He was the Maula 
(Freed slave) of Ibn Khaysam al-Qurayshi. He was born 
in the last days of Caliphate of 'Uthman and died in 114 
A.H. He was educated by "Abdullah bin 'Abbas, Abdullah 
bin Zubayr, and Sayyidah 'Ayshah i&s- JusJn ^j and other 
Companions afe> and their followers. He was mainly 
popular as a jurist. It is said that in his time he was the 
greatest scholar on Hajj rites. 128 He was highly acclaimed 

1 26: TahzTb ul Asmav 1 , p25 1 . 

127: Hilyat ul-Autiya"; v4, p3. 

128: TahzTb ul-Asnia, vl, p333-334. 

484 An approach to the Quranic sciences- 

tor his devotion to Allah and piety. Inn Jurayj said, "For 
twenty years the floor of the mosque was his bed." 
Muhammad bin "Abdullah ad-Dibaj said, "I have not seen 
a Mufti (one authorized to pass a verdict on religious 
laws) better than "Ata". His assembly was always 
enlightened with remembrance of Allah whose continuity- 
was never broken. If a legal question was asked during it 
he used to give an exellent answer." 129 

However, his narrations lack authentication of a direct 
relay through the Companions. Even from Ibn-'Umar 
whom he has reported most frequently his direct audition is 
not proved. Similalry, he did not hear the narrations 
directly from AbuJSa'Td KhudrF, Zayd bin Khalid, Umm 
Sahnah, Umm Hani, Umm Kurz. RTfi" bin KhadTj. 
Usainah, Jubayr bin Mut'am Abu DardiT and Fadal bin 
'Abbas.' Hence his direct narrations from all these people 
dieJ'Mursal" (without direct audition from a Companion). 
Imam Ahmad considered his Mursal as the weakest of all 
Mursal because he used to accept narration from everyone 
and anyone. 130 


His full name was Sayyidina Said bin AI-Musayyib bin 
Hazn al-Qarshi al-MakhzirmT. 13 ' 

He was the son-in-law of Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah 4k>. 
Hence many of Abu Hurayrah's narrations have been 
reported from him. He was such a pious and devoted 
person that for forty years there was no 'call for Sal ah' 
which he did not hear while he was already present in the 

129: Tazkiratul Huffaz by Zahabfvl, p 92. 

130: Tahz.Tb-al-TahzTb. V 7. pp2()2-203. 

131: It is both Musayyab and Musayyib (with a and i) the former is 
more used but he himself preferred with an T because that was 
the custom in Madinah. (TahzTb ul-Asma, Nawawi.) vl. p219. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 485 

mosque, 132 and performed Hay forty times. He never 
accepted any reward from an> rich person. For his 
livelihood he depended on his trade of oils. Imam Malik 
has quoted him as saying. "Some times I used to travel 
several days and nights just to learn a single Tradition." 
He was born in the third year of Sayyidina 'Umar's 
caliphate. Hence he has heard traditions from many 
Companions. He used to report too often indirectly (as 
Mursal) from the Companions whom he did not hear 
directly. But his Mursal were accepted even by those 
'ulama who normally rejected Mursal Aliadith. For 
example, Imam Shafa'i did not consider Mursal valid for 
reporting but he said, "Ibn Musaiyyib\s Mursal narrations 
are fairly authentic for us." The reason is that he always 
reported from reliable narrators only. 134 

But Imam Nawawi has refuted that his Mursal were 
acceptable to Shafa'T without preconditions. He says "For 
us his Mursal are subject to the same conditions as those of 
other eminent Tabi'T that is. it would be accepted only if it 
is supported by a proven narration or another Mursal or by 
the sayings of some Companions or after the Companions 
by the deliberations of most of the jurists", otherwise, 
no." 135 This discussion is. however, related to ShafaT 
School of thought. For HanafTs his mursal are acceptable 
without pre conditions. There are different reports about his 
death from 91 AH to 105 AH. 

132: TahzTbul-Asma. v4, p87. 
133: Tazkiratul HulTaz, v], p5l-52, 
134: TahzTb iit TahzTb, v4, p85-87. 

135: TahzTb ui Asnia vl. p22l. Muqaddama Al-MajmiT" Sharah 
al-Muhazzab v, pi 00 Cairo. 

486 An approach to the Quranic sciences 


His full name is Abu Bakr Muhammad bin STrTn. His I 

father STrin was the freed slave of Sayyidina Anas 4#b and I 

his mother Safya was the freed maid of Sayyidina Abu I 

Bakr Siddiq 4#&. At the time when Sayyidina Abu Bakar I 

4» purchased her, three of the respected wives of the I 

Holy Prophet M applied fragrance to her, and eighteen of I 

the Companions of Badr joined the celeberation. They I 

included Ubayy bin Ka'b who made the Supplication to 1 

Allah and the others said Amin. Among the children of I 

Sayyidina Slrin six are well known. They are ' 

Muhammad. Ma'bad, Anas, Yahya. Hafsah and KarTmah. 

All six of them are' reliable reporters of Hadith. Of them 

thejnost popular and eminently placed is Muhammad bin 

Sinn whose wonderful life needs to be recorded m book 

form. His piety and dedication is exemplary. Hi shim bin 

Hasan said, "When we stayed in the house of fen STrTn 

we heard him laughing during daytime (because he had a 

jolly and delightful nature), and weeping at night. " It was 

due to his piety and dedication that he had to bear the 

hardships as a prisoner. During his imprisonment the jail 

warden offered him permission to go home at night and 

come back in the morning every day. But he replied, "By 

God! I shall not aid in being mistrustful to the Sultan!* 13 * 

It was during his imprisonment that the renowned 

Companion and his father's master Sayyidina Anas 4k 

died. He had left a will tfcat his body should be given bath 

by Muhammad bin Sirin. People came to him and 

mentioned the will, he said, "I am a prisoner." People said 

"We have obtained permission from the Sultan " 

Muhammad bin STrin replied, "The one who imprisoned 

136: The material so far is collected from TahzTb ul-Asma wal Lughat 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 487 

me is not the Sultan but the man whose right I have to 
pay." So the people got permission of that man, and then 
Muhammad bin Sinn gave bath to Sayyidina Anas •4^. 137 

Anyhow, Muhammad bin STrTn is unanimously 
accepted as Imam of exegesis, traditions and law. He is 
known to have met Sayyidina Anas, Abu Hurayrah 'Imran 
bin Husayn, 'Abdullah bin 'amr and Zayd bin Thabit 4^>- 
He has also reported as indirect narration (i.e. Mursal) 
from those Companions whom he never met. But his 
Mursal are accepted by many of those who do not 
otherwise rely on Mursal as an argument, for instance 
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah says, 

"Muhammad bin STrTn is the most cautions of 
persons in his discourses and his Mursal are the 
most reliable of all Mursal." 138 

He died in Basrah on 9 Shawwal 1 10 AH. 139 


His full name is Abu 'Abdullah Zayd bin Aslam 
Al-'AmrT (D. 136 AH) He belonged to Madina and was a 
freed slave of 'Abdullah bin 'Umar *** Jl~" *»» ^j. He has 
reported narrations from Ibn 'Umar, Abu Hurayrah, 
Sayyidina 'Ayshah, Jabir, Anas and Salamah bin Al-Akwa' 
etc., j^p ^lus in ^j. He was a great scholar in the science 
of exegesis and is unanimously regarded as reliable. He 
conducted teachings in the Masjid Nabawi. He was so 


Hilyat ul Awliya, Abi Nu'im, v2. p267 
Minhaj us Sunnah, v3, p86. 
TahdhTb ut TahdhTb v9. p216. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

popular that his son 'Abd-ur-Rahman stated that whenever 
his father sent him to any of his students, he used to kiss 
him on his forehead and say, "By God! your father is 
dearer to us than our entire family. If we are told that any 
of our family or Zayd bin Aslam would die and if we are 
given a choice to, we shall wish that Zayd bin Aslam 
should live." 140 

Abu Hazim said, "We attended the assemblies of Zayd 
bin Aslam with forty jurists. Our humblest disposition was 
that we used to offer solace to each other with our 
possessions, and in his assemblies never saw two persons 
arguing on useless topic or disputing with each other." 141 

Sayyidina Zayd bin Aslam has been generally accepted 
as reliable. However, 'Ubaydullah bin 'Umar says,' "I do 
not know of anything bad in him. However, he used to 
interpret the Quran very often on his own views." And 
Sufyan bin 'Uyaynah said, " Zayd bin Aslam was a noble 
man but his memory was a bit defective." Apart from 
these two persons, no one else has passed adverse 
comments on him. 

Hafiz Zahabi states that there was an exegesis written 
by him which his son 'Abdur Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam 
used to quote. 142 But it should be understood that 'Abdur 
Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam is a weak narrator despite his 
piety and devotion, and most of the Traditionists have 
called him "unreliable" 143 Hence the exegetic narrations of 
Zayd bin Aslam reported by his son 'Abdur Rahman are 
not fully reliable. 

140: TahzTb-ul-TahzTb v3, pp395, 396. 
141: Ibid, vl, p200. 
142: Tazkirat-ul-tfuffaz vl, pl25. 
143: TahzTb ut TahzTb, pl78, 179. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 489 


His full name is Abul 'Aliyah Rufai"" bin Mehran 
Ar-RiyahT. He belonged to Basrah and was born in the days 
of paganism but embraced Islam two years after the death 
of the Prophet £t He had met Sayyidina Abu Bakr *$&, 
and he has reported AJjiadith from Sayyidina 'Ali, Ibn 
Mas'ud, Ubayy bin Ka'b, Ibn 'Abba's, Abu Musa, Abu 
Ayyub and Abu" Barzah f^ ju; &\ ^j. He was a 
renowned Qari (Recitor) of the Quran. He was also a freed 
slave of a woman of Bani Rabah, 144 but Sayyidina Ibn 
'Abbas always offered him a seat by his side on the cot 
while other Quraysh sat on the floor, and would say, 
"knowledge upholds the nobility of man in this manner." 145 
There is a consensus of scholars on his reliability. He died 
in 93 AH. 146 He was the first one to make the call for 
Salah in the region of Mawara un-nahr; 147 (the area beyond 
the river). 


He was the son of Sayyidina Zubayr bin 'Awwam <$$>. 
He is one of the seven renowned jurists of Al-Madinah, 
and a nephew of Sayyidah 'Ayshah i^Jbwiii^j. That is 
why he has reported many traditions from her, and has 
been considered most reliable in reporting them. It is 
agreed by the 'Ulama that he was dignified, 
knowledgeable, learned and reliable. 148 His son Hisham 
has said, "My father always observed fasts and died in the 
same state in 94 AH". 

Ibn Shawzab stated that 'Urwah used to recite one 

144: TahzTb-ul-Asniav2, p251. 
145: Tazkiratul Huffaz vl, p58. 
146: TahzTb-ul-TahzTb v3, p284. 
147: Hilyatul Awliya*v2, p221. 
148: TalizTb-ul-Asma. pp331, 332. 

490 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

fourth of the Quran every day and also in the late night 
Salah (Tahajjud). This practice was discontinued only 
once in his life on the night when his leg was amputated 

due lo a disease. 149 £^ 


His full n_ame is Abu Sa'Td Al-Hasan bin Abi 
al-Hasan Yasar AI-Basri. He was the freed slave of 
Zayd bin Thabit 4& (and according to some people of 
Jamil bin Qutaibah.) His mother Khayrah was the freed 
slave-woman of the Prophet's M wife Umm Salmah ^>j 
if* Jbo-Sii and was therefore, sometimes breastfed by 
her. He was born two years before the martyrdom of 
Sayyidina 'Umar 4fa. He had met many Companions nd 
also gained religious knowledge from them. His eminent 
status with regard to learning and piety is 
unquestionable. His devotion and dedication, and his 
prudent sayings and writings are very popular. At the 
same time as that he was a great warrior too, and took 
part in several battles. 150 During the reign of Sayydina 
Mu'awiyah he had remained the scribe for the governor 
of Khurasan, Rabi' bin Ziyad. 

He has narrated many Traditions as Mursal (that is, he 
has not mentioned the link of the Companion whose 
Traditions he narrated). There has been a severe 
difference of opinion among scholars of Hadith on the 
question of the reliability of such AhTidith so that some 
accept them while others reject them. Imam Ibn uI-MadTni 
has said, "If the Mursals of Hasan are reported from 
reliable narrators then they are true and they are very 
rarely unreliable." Imam Abu Zar'ah said, "All those 
traditions, which Hasan Basri has reported with the words 

149: Tazkirat-ul-tfuffaz, vl, p59. 

150: TahzTb ul-Asma, 61 refc 122. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 491 

'The Messenger of Allah said...' but without naming the 
line of transmission, I have found them correct after 
scrutiny, except for four of them where I could not trace 
the Companion's link." Imam Ahmad has however termed 
the Mursal of Hasan Basri and 'Ata" as the weakest of all 
Mursal. 151 He died in 1 10 AH. 

12: Q AT ADAH ftf 

Hisjfull namejs Abul Khattab Qatadah bin Di'aYnah 
As-Sudusi Al-Basri. He was born blind, yet his memory 
was so sharp that he himself had said, "1 never asked a 
Traditionist to report a Tradition a second time, and my 
ears never heard a thing which my heart did not 
memorise." He also said, •'There is no verse of the Quran 
about which I had not learnt something (that is, a narration 
or report) already." Imam Ahmad said, "Qatadah is a great 
scholar of exegesis." In addition, he also had a great 
knowledge of the Arabic language, literature, history and 
geneology. However, the Traditionists have said that 
sometimes he adopted 'Tadfis' 152 in the narrations. He died 
of plague in the city of Wash in 118 AH. 153 


His full name is Muhammad bin Ka'b bin Saleem bin 
Asad Al-Qurazi. His Kunyah is Abu Hamzah or Abu 
'Abdullah.' His father belonged to the tribe of Banu 
Qurayzah and was excused in the battle of Banu Qurayzah 
due to his childhood. It is said that Muhammad bin Ka'b 
al-Qurazi was born in the life time of Prophet <)&. He has 

151: TahzTb -ut TabzTb, V.3, P.202 about Ata bin Abi Rabah Ibn al 

Madini and Abu Zar'ah and v2, pp266-270. 
152: A missing link occurring where a narrator heard a Hadith from 

his teacher when the teacher of his teacher was also his 


153: Adapted from Tazkirai-ul-Huffaz. pp 115. 117 refe. 12. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

reported several traditions from Sayyidina 'All. Ibn 
Mas'Ifd, Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn 'Umar, Abu Hurayrah. Jabir, 
Anas. Bara bin '7\zib, Mu'awiyah. Ka'b bin 'Ujrah, Zayd 
bin Arqam. MughTra bin Shu'bah 'Abdullah bin Ja'far and 
several other Companions *¥*■ Juj-iii^j. 

Imam Ibn Sa'd said, "He was reliable and a scholar of 
many traditions." Imam 'IjlT said. "He is reliable and pious 
and a great scholar of the Quran. " 'Aun bin 'Abdullah 
stated. "1 have not seen a scholar of exegesis of the Quran 
greater than him." 154 'Allamah NawawT said, "There is 
consensus on his reliability. 

In the beginning he had settled in Kufah (Iraq) but later 
on returned to Madinah. He died somewhere between 108 
and 120 All. 155 /J^ 

14: 'ALQAMAH ^^ 

His full name is Abu Shubayl 'Alqamah bin Qays bin 
"Abdullah Nakh'T. He was resident of Kufah (Iraq) and was 
born during the life time of the Prophet HI. He has 
reported traditions from many Companions but he was a 
favourite student of Sayyidina Abdullah bin Ma.s'ud 4&, so 
much so that he had a great resemblance in appearance and 
character with Ibn Mas'ITd. Hence in the matter of 
narrations of Ibn Mas'ud great reliance is placed on him 
and Sayyidina Aswad. He was a sweet voiced recitor of the 
Quran and Sayyidina Ibn Mas'ITd used to send for him 
specially for hearing his recitals of the Quran. Once he 
recited the entire Quran in one night. He is unanimously 
regarded as reliable and had attained a highly eminent place 
in the science of jurisprudence. About his death there are 
different reports that he died between 62 AH and 73 AH. 156 

154: TahzTb ut TahzTb. v9. p420-422. 
155: TahzTb-ul-Asma". vl. p9(). 
156: TahzTb ut TahzTb v7. p278. 

Aii approach to the Quranic sciences 493 

He was a very humble person and generally remained busy 
in household tasks. He did not like to have his own circle 
of students and used to say. "I do not like that people walk 
after me and say to each other that he is Alqamah. After his 
death his enire heritage was a copy of the Holy Quran and 
a horse in addition to a house."' 57 

15: ASWAD /J^ 

His full name is Abu "Amr Aswad bin YazTd bin Qays 
Al Nakhi. He also belonged to Kufah (Iraq) and was also a 
favourite student of "Abdullah Inn Ma>'Ud. a nephew of 
'Alqamah and maternal uncle of Ibrahim Nakh'7. "Allamah 
Nawawi states, "There is consensus on his reliability and 
eminent status." He was renowned for his piety and 
devotion. It is said that he travelled to the yarmayn 158 
eighty times for Hajj or 'Umrah. His son "Abdur Rahman 
used to offer 700 raka'at in Salah every day, yet it was 
said that he was the weakest worshipper among the family 
members of Sayyidina Aswad. 159 

Sayyidina JbrahTm Nakh'T stated, "Aswad used to recite 
complete Quran in two nights of Ramadan and slept only 
between Maghrib and 'Isha. He kept so many fasts that his 
body used to turn pale and purple. When 'Alqamah said to 
him why did he put so much hardship to his body, he 
would say, "I want the comfort of the Hereafter for the 
body." And sometimes he said, "O Abu Shabl. the affair 
(of Hereafter) is very serious." He died about 75A.H. 160 

157: Hilyat ill Awliya. Abi Nu - aym v2. plOO. 

158: The two 'Harams. Mosque Al-Haram of Ka'bah and Mosque 

Al-Nabawi at Madinah. 
159: Tazkiratul Huf'faz, vl p48. TahzTb ul AsrmTvl, pl22. 
160: Hilyatul Awliya. v2, ppl03-104. ret" 165. 

494 An approach to the Quranic sciences 


His full name is Abu IsmaTl Murrah bin SharahTl. 
Al-Hamdani S&kaski Al-KUfi. and in his time he was 
known by the titles of "Murratut-Tayyf b" (Murrah, the 
Pure) and "Murrat-ul-Khayr" (Murrah the Good). He saw 
the times of Prophet $k but could not see him and is thus 
known as one of the Muklidar/iiln 161 He has reported from 
many Companions, for example. Sayyidina "Umar 
'Uthman, "Ali, Huzayfah and Abu Zarr etc. He received 
much knowledge from 'Abdullah bin Mas'ITd. Thus we find 
a large number of Ibn Mas'ud's narrations reported by him 
in the books of exegesis. He is unanimously considered as 
reliable. His devotion in worship of Allah was so extreme 
that historians write, "The number of his prostrations were 
so many that earth had eaten his forehead." He is said to 
offer between five to six hundred raka'at daily. Hafiz 
ZahabT has written "He had an insight in exegesis." He 
died about 90 AH. 163 Qj 

But it should be remembered that his narrations in the 
books of exegesis are immensely reported by Sudd! who is 
reported weak as we shall soon see. 

17: NAFI' Q 

His full name is Abu 'Abdullah Nafi' bin Hurmuz and 
according to some Nafi' bin Ka us. He belonged to 
Nishapur and was a freed slave of "Abdullah bin 'Umar 
4^>. He was an eminent follower of Companions (Tabi'T). 
He gained most of his knowledge from Sayyidina Ibn 
'Umar, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Sa'id Khudri, Abu Lubabah, 

161: One who lived in the times of the Holy Prophet ^ but did not 

see him. 
162: TahzTb ut TahzTb, vl, p88. (or vlO) 
163: Tazkirat ul-Huffaz, vl, p63. 

/\n approach to the Quranic sciences 495 

Rafi' bin KhadTj <3§& and Sayyidah 'Ay shah l^p Juj iii\ ^>. 
Of all the students of Sayyidina Ibn 'Umar, two have been 
regarded as most reliable, his son Salim bin 'Abdullah and 
his slave Nafi'. 'Allarnah Nawawi stated that there was 
consensus on the eminence of his status and reliability. And 
according to Imam Bukhari, "Of all the reports, the most 
correct report is in the sequence IVlalik from Nafi' from Ibn 
'Umar. 1 Sayyidina Ibn 'Umar himself has said. "Allah 
has granted us a great favour through Nafi'." Ibn Hajar has 
written, "No error could be detected in all the Traditions 
reported by him". 

Imam Malik who was his favourite student says about 
him that he was a very humble person, generally wrapped 
himself in a black sheet and talked very little. Sayyidina 
Nafi himself said, "I served Ibn 'Umar for 30 years. After 
that Ibn 'Arnir asked him to sell me to him for 30,000 
dirhams. Then Ibn 'Umar said to me that he feared the 
dirhams of Ibn 'A"mir might not put him into a serious trial, 
therefore, you are free from now." He died in 117 A.H. 166 

18: SHA'BT m 

His full name is Abu iAmir bin SharahTl Ash-Sha'bT Al 
Himyari. He is one of the famous jurists from the Tabi'i of 
Kufah (Traq). He had met about five hundred Companions. 
His memory was extra-ordinarily strong. He never 
memorized a Hadith by first writing it down. He used to 
say "Whenever any one recites anything to me it is at once 
committed to my memory. The thing that I remember least 
is poetry, yet if I start reciting poetical verses I can do it 
for a whole month and no verse will be repeated." He is 
one of die eminent teachers of Imam Abu HanTfah, and his 

164: TahdhTb-ul-Asma, v2\ ppl23-124, refe 187 
165: TahdhTb-ut-TahdhTb, vlO, p413-415. 
166: Tadhkirat-ul-tjuffaz, vl, p94. 

496 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

own eminent status is universally accepted. Imam Ahmad 
and Imam 'Ijli have stated that even his Mursal are reliable 
because he reported as Mursal only the correct 
narrations. 167 


His full name is Abu Muhammad 'Abdullah bin 
'Ubaydullah bin Abi Mulaykah Al-TamTmT Al-MakkT. 
During the caliphate of Abdullah bin Zubayr he was the 
chief judge (Qazi) of Makkah and the Muazzin (who calls 
to prayer) in the Mosque Al-Haram. Afterwards Ibn Zubayr 
appointed him the Qazi of Ta'if. He has reported Traditions 
from many Companions, and according to him, he had. met 
thirty Companions. 168 

During his stay at Ta'if he also benefitted from the 
knowledge of Ibn 'Abbas. According to Hafiz ZahabT OlS"" 

There was consensus on his reliability. He died in 1 17 
A.H. 169 ^Cl# 


His full name is Abul WalTd 'Abdul Malik bin 'Abdul 
'Aziz bin Jurayj Al-Qurayshi Al-Makkl. His time was 
among the successors of the followers of Companions.' 
He had been a student of Ta'TTs 'Ata' bin Abi Rabah, 
Mujahid, Ibn Mulaykah and Nafi' etc. In particular he 
lived withjSayyidina 'Ata' for 17 years. When people 
asked 'Ata' whom should they approach for religious 
matters after his death, he pointed to Ibn Jurayj and said, 
"Ask from him if he be alive." That is why he has been 
called c-)i (most reliable of all the people) for the 

167: Ibid, vl, pp74-82. 

168: TahzTb al TahzTb v5, p307. 

169: Tazkirat-ul-Huffaz, vl, pp95-96. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 497 

narrations of *AtaV His special trait is that he was the 
first regular writer of religious sciences who compiled the 
various sciences for the first time. He has said, ^ tfja u 
. j^\^jjxi "No one compiled religious doctrines as I did", 
he was in a very high esteem in the matter of dedication 
and devotion. He used to keep fasts daily exceptjbr three 
days in a month. 170 Imam ' Abdur^Razzaq says, 
"'Whenever 1 see Ibn Jurayj offering Sal ah. I feel certain 
that his heart is filled with the fear of Allah." 171 

Most Traditionists have considered him reliable. 
However, some scholars have also expressed minor doubts 
and raised small objections against him. For instance. 
Imam Malik has said, "Ibn Jurayj is Hdtib-id-layV\ that is^ 
he accepts all sorts of narrations, right or wrong, Yahya 
bin Mu'Tn states that he is unreliable in the matter of 
Zuhri's narrations, because he sometimes used to cite weak 
reporters. Hence, scholars of Hadith have established that 
his narrations which begin with the prefix of ji>^ (I heard 
the Hadith or) j* (from) are doubtful. But on the whole he 
is a reliable reporter, hence a large number of his 
narrations are quoted in the six correct books of fiadit/i. 


His full name is Abu Qasim Dahhak bin Muzahim al 
Hilali. He belonged to Khurasan. Dahhak means the one 
who laughs much and he was so named because he remained 
in his mother's womb for two years and had already grown 
his teeth when he was born and he was laughing. 173 He was 
born during the times of the Companions but his reports 

170: TahzTb-ut-TahzTb, v6, p403-406. 
171: TahzTb-ul-Asma, v2, p297. 

172: TahzTb-ut-TahzTb, v6. Pp4()3-4()6. _ 

173: Miftah us Sa'adah, vl. p404. Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah, Ibn 
KathTr", v9, p223. 

4 ^ An approach to the Quranic sciences 

directly from any Companion are doubtful. Even his reports 
from )bn 'Alibis are 'Mursal'. 'Abdul Malik bin Maisarah 
states, "Dahhak never met Ibn Abba's. However, he had met 
Sa'id bin Jubayr at Rey. and he studied exegesis of the 
Quran form Sayyidina Sa'Td". 174 

Most scholars Jiave regarded him as reliable. Only 
Slu/'bah and Yahya bin Sa'Td al-Qattan have called him 
as weak. But firstly, these two are known to be more 
strict in their scrutiny of people' 75 , and secondly their 
scrutiny was perhaps aimed at establishing that he never 
met any Companion yet he used to report directly from 
them. But by himself he was reliable. Hafiz ZahabT has 
said about him. 

That is Imam Ahmad, Ibn Mu'Tn and Abu Zur'ah 
have called him 'Reliable' and Yahya al-Qattan and 
Shn'bah have said that he was weak and he was 
strong in TafsTr. 176 

Ibn Hajar has written 

"He is truthful but reports from Mursal too often." 

The narrations of Ibn 'Abbas as reported by him 177 
have been considered 'weak' by Traditionsists as we have 
already stated. However, his own exegesis is acceptable. He 
died sometime between 103 And 106 AH 

174: TahzTb-ui-Tahz7b, v4, p453. 

175. al-'Ajvrbah-tul-Fadila. Mawlana Abdul Hayy Lakhnavi 
Pp 161 -180, Syria. 

176. al MughnTfid D uafa". Zahabi. vl, p3l2, refer. 2912. 

177. Taqnb-ut-TahzTb. vl, p273. Madinah. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 499 



The above mentioned personalities are those about 
whose reliability there is a near consensus, and they are 
frequently refered to in the reports and narrations of 
exegesis. Apart from them, we have talked in detail about 
Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin 'Amr, Wahb bin Munabbih and 
Ka'b ul-Ahbar when discussing "lsra'Tliyyat. * We now 
present a brief introduction of some of those commentators 
of the times of TabiTn (Followers of Companions) or 
Taba* Tabi'Tn (Followers of Tabi'Tn) who are considered 
either as "weak" or there is a significant difference of 
opinion about their reliability. 


In the books of exegesis two persons are well-known by 
the name of Suddi. Separate description of both of them 
will be more appropriate: 


Abu Muhammad Isma'Tl bin 'Abdur Rahman bin Abi 
KarTmah-Suddi al-Kufi (died 127 AH). He is known as 
As-Suddi-al-KabTr and if the books of exegesis re-fer only 
to "SuddT,", the reference is to him. He was called 
"SuddT", because he used to sell sheets on the platform by 
the door of Grand-mosque of Kufah. In Arabic language 
such platform outside the door is called 'Suddah'. Hence he 

was called Suddi. 

He had a special aptitude for the exegesis of the Quran, 
hence the books of exegesis are full of his sayings and 
narrations. How much reliable he is in the matter of science 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

of exegesis and reporting is disupted by the scholars. Some 
of them have supported him. For instance Yahya bin Sa'Td 
al-Qattan says, 

"There is no harm in his narrations. Whomsoever I 
heard talking about him it was nothing but 
. good." 178 

Imam Ahmad said. "He is reliable." Imam Ibn 'Adi 
says, "In my view he is right and truthful about Hadith. 
There is no harm in him." Imam 'IjlT said, "He is a 
reliable scholar arid reporter for exegesis." Imam Nasa'7 
called him "Righteous." 179 Imam Bukhari also appears to 
consider him reliable because he has not reported any 
comments against him in his Tarlkh Kablr but he has 
quoted Isrmvil bin Abi Khalid as saying that Suddi was a 
greater scholar of the_Qurah than Sha'bi and he has also 
quoted Yahya bin Sa'id al Qattlh as above saying. After 
the^two quotations he has made no adverse comment. 180 
Imam Muslim also took him as reliable and has quoted 
him in his Sahih. 

On the other hand, many other scholars have 
commented on him. For instance, somebody said to Imam 
Sha^bi, "Suddi has a major share of knowledge of the 
Quran." In reply to this Sha'bT said, "He has received the 
major share of being ignorant of the Quran." Yahya bin 
Mu'in called him weak. Imam Abu Zar'ah called him 
Lenient which is a minor degree of relilablity. Imam Abu 
Hatim said, "His narrations may be written but should not 

178. We have reproduced the translation of the sayings nearer to the 
meanings for our readers to understand easily. The technical 
words can be understood by Scholars of tfadith only. 

179: TahzTb-ut-TahzTb, vl, pp313-314. 

180. at-Tarikh-al-KabTr, vl, p361, Syria. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 501 

be regarded as conclusive." SajjTjaid, "He is truthful but 
should be ignored". Imam 'Uqayli states, "He is weak and 
is aggressive against Abu Bakr and 'Umar." Imam TabarT 
stated that inferences from his narrations are not desirable. 
Imam JauzjanT said, "He is truthful but should be ignored. 
He is a liar and abusive." 181 

Imam Fallas has quoted 'Abdur Rahman bin Mahdi as_ 
saying, "He is weak." And Husain bin Wafid Al-Maruzi 
states, "I have heard the narrations from Suddi, and I left 
him when I heard he was using offensive language against 
Abu Bakr and 'Umar 4&, and I never went to him 

again." 182 

Considering all this discussion lbn Hajar has concluded 

that, "He is truthful but confused in reporting and is also 

blamed for being a Shift \" 183 

His wordings an*, The word J^x* is spoken for a 

person who is not a liar but his memory is also not upto 

the standard. Hence his correct position is that in respect of 

memory he does not come upto the standard of 

Traditionists, and he is also blamed to be a Shia . Only 

Imam JauzjanT has called him a liar. 


The other person known by the name of Suddi is 
Muhammad bin Marwan As-SudoT who was the freed slave 
of 'Abdur Rahman bin Zayd bin Khattab *$b. 184 

His narrations number fewer than those of Suddi KabTr. 
In order to distinguish him from Suddi kablr he is called as 
SuddT as-SaghTr. He also belonged to Kufah (Iraq) and is 

181. TahzTb-ut-TahzTb. vl, p3 13-3 14. 

182. Mizan-ul-rticial, ZahabT. pp236. 237. refe 907. 
183: TaqrTb ut TahzTb, vl, p72. 

184: TarTkh Baghdad. al-Khatlb. v3. p291. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

unanimously considered as "weak". He was the student of 
renowned historian KalbT (whose lite we will see shortly). 
Imam Bukhari has stated that his narrations should never be 
quoted. Imam Ibn Muin said. "He is not reliable." Imam 
Ahmad says. J! met him when he was too old, hence I left 
him.' Zahabi said. "Traditionists have blamed him as a 
liar." 18 * At another place he wrote, "He is an extremely 
exaggerating narrator." 186 Imam Nasa^T states, "He is 
rejected for narration," 187 Abu "Ali Salih bin Muhammad 
said, "He was weak and also he invented Tradition. 188 

Earlier, we have stated when dealing with the transcript 
with Ibn f Abbas of Tanvlr-id-Miqyas-fi-Tafsir Urn 'Abbas is 
reported by Suddi SaghTr and -Allamah SuyutThas called its 
report as a "chain of falsehood", and hence it is not reliable. 189 


Again, there are two persons known by this name. One 
is Abu Bistam Muqatil bin Haiyyan. and the other is 'Abul 
Hasan Muqatil bin Sulayman. Both belonged to the same 
town Balkh, to the same time and both reported from the 
same kind of teachers. Hence sometimes a confusion arises 
between the two. Of these, the former (Muqatil bin 
Haiyyan) is considered reliable because of his sound 
opinion, and is an eminent scholar, but his references in the 
books of exegesis are very few. If Books of exegesis refer 
only to Muqatil it means the other Muqatil bin Sulayman 
because he is the one known as a commentator, and his 

185: Mizan-ul- J'tidal, v4. pp32-33. Al-MughnT Fid Du'fa". v2, p631. 
186: Ibid, vl. p237. (refer Ismail bin"~Abdur' Rahman As-SiddT 

187: Kila~b ucl^ du'afa wal MatiTTkTn Nasa'i TarTkh-as-SaghTr 

al-Bukhari, p303. 
188: Tarikh Baghdad AI-Khat7b. v3, p292, Beirut. 
189: Al-Itqan. V2, pi 89. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 503 

sayings and opinions are mostly found in the books of 
exegesis. Hence, we will speak of him in some detail. 

Muqatil bin Sulayman (died 150 AH) had written an 
exegesis, references which are made frequently in the books 
of exegesis. Some scholars have praised him but most of 
them have regarded him as unreliable. Among those who 
praise are Imam ShafVT who said. "People are dependant 
on Muqatil for exegesis". And Baqiyyah said. "Shu'bah 
was frequently asked about Muqatil. I always found him 
speaking good of Muqatil." And Muqatil bin Haiyyan used 
to call him the 'Ocean of knowledge.' 

But leaving aside these few words of praise, most of 
the Traditionists have bitterly argued against and criticised 
him. The first objection is that he used to report 
unfounded narrations. Waki* says, "We intended to visit 
Muqatil, but he himself arrived in our town. We met him 
but found him to be a liar, hence we did not write 
anything from him." Imam Jauzjani says about him, "He 
is an obstinate liar." Imam Ibn Mu'Th said, "He is not 
reliable." And, "He is nothing." r Amr bin 'Ali (Fallas) 
said, "Rejected for narration and liar." Imam Ibn Sa'Td 
states, "The traditionists kept away from him and called 
him one rejected." "Abdur Rahman bin Hakam says. "He 
was a story-teller and people have given up his 
narrations. "Abu Ha~tiin and'ljli called him as rejected for 
Hadith Imam Nasa>T called him a liar and on another 
occasion he said, "Four persons are very well-known for 
inventing false traditions and attributing them to the 
Prophet ^, and one of them is Muqatil." Imam Darqutni 
writes, "He lies." Imam Hakim said, "He is not reliable 
in the eyes of scholars." 'Abdus Samad bin 'Abdul 
Warith has written, "MuqtTtil came to us and narrated 
some traditions claimed to be derived from 'Apt' then he 
narrated the same through Dahhak, and then through 

504 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

'Amr bin Shu'ayb. We asked him from whom he had 
heard those traditions? He said that he heard them from 
all of them, but soon he said that he did not remember 
from whom he heard them 190 . Imam Bukhari has written, 
"He is nothng at all". 191 'Abdullah bin Mubarak praised 
his devotion but did not accept his narrations. 192 

The other objection against him is that he belonged to 
the Mujassimah sect (that is, they used to liken the 
attributes of Allah to those of His creations, and also 
believed_Him having bodily organs etc). 'Abbas bin Mus'ab 
Mar^azi says, "Muqatil bin Sulayman was originally from 
Balkh, then he came to Maru, and here he started 
story-telling in the grand mosque of the town. It was here 
that debates took place between him and Jahm bin Safwan 
(the founder of Jahmia sect). Hence they wrote books 
against each other." And Imam Abu HanTfah says, "Two 
foul views have penetrated among us from Eastern side, 
one is the view of Jahm who was among the Mu 'ajtalah, 193 
and the other was Muqatil' s view which was based on 
allegories. Jahm exaggerated in negating the attributes of 
Allah until he made Him non-existent. And Muqa~til 
exaggerated in positiveness of attributes so he made Him 
similar to His creation. 194 

Hafiz Shamsuddin ZahbT has categorised him among the 
weak narrators and stated Muqatil bin Sulayman Balkhi is 
in a very poor condition. Waki' and Nasa'i also call him a 
liar. 195 

Ibn Hajar has concluded that: 

190: TahzTb ut TahzTb, vlO, pp282-285. 

191: at-Tarlkh al-kabTr, v4, pl4 (part 2) refer 1976. 

192: Miftah us-Sa'adah, Kiibra Zadah, vl, p404. 

193: The group of people who believe that Allah has material body 

like human beings. 
194: TahzTb al TahzTb, refer as above. 
195: Al-Mughni fi Ad-du fc afa, Zahabi, v2, p675. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

the scholars have called him a liar and gave up his 

narrations and he is also blamed for belonging to 

Mujassimah sect. 196 

Despite such harsh critictism and arguments against 
him his sayings are too frequently mentioned in the books 
of exegesis. The reason is that although he was not reliable 
in reporting the traditions yet he was a well-informed 
person, and because his greatest pre-occupation in life was 
exegesis and he had gathered information from different 
methods, some useful things are found in his exegesis. That 
is why the commentators have spoken of his knowledge 
also, so if the researchers find something useful they may 
accept it otherwise reject it. Opinions of some scholars in 
this connection are as under: £& 

He had some books which he used to readjmt I 
think he had some knowledge of the Quran.... 
Imam Ahmad. 197 

^U_^ > jj* Up j^i J .j-Ul jr-X J*** £*~ Ujl 

Muq¥til had collected the exegesis of different 
people and made his exegesis accordingly but he did 

not hear them directly from anyone Ibrahim 


196: TaqrTb ut TahzTb, v2, p272. refe 134. 

197- TarTkh Baghdad, KhatTb. V13_pl61. He has related an incident. 
A fly pestered Khalifah Mansur again and again always resting 
on his face, so he was very uneasy. At that moment Muqatil 
arrived and the Khalifah asked him if he knew why Allah had 
created the fly. Muqatil said, "That He may debase tyrants 
through it." The Khalifah bore the taunt silently. (V13 pl61) 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 






He rememberedjhe exegesis but did not know the 

source 'Abbas bin Mus'ab MarRaT 

I saw a book of Muqltil with Sufyah bin 'Uyaynah and 
asked him, "Do you quote Muqatil's narrations in 
exegesis?" He said, "No but I take help from them • 
Na'im bin Hammad. 

There is wonderful information in it, only if its 
narrations were through authentic sources... 'Abdullah 
bin Mubarak, 

If the things he describes could be called knowledge 
he would be a greater scholar-Hammad bin 'Amr. 
He used to learn from Jews and Christians from their 
Books, Imam Ibn Hibban. 

He has a high status among the commentators and he 
had vast knowledge, but Traditionists have called him 
weak in narrating the Traditions... KhalTlT. 198 
Hence, generally his exegesis should not be relied upon 
However, from the standpoint of language and literature 
history and stories, references of the previous Books some 
general useful information is found in it and the research 
scholars may benefit from it. That is why commentators in 
general did not feel shy to refer to them. 

RABP bin anas 

His name is RabT' bin Anas Al-BakrT Al-HanafT He 
originally belonged to Basrah bm afterwards migrated to 
Khurasan. Hence he is called Basri and also Khurasanl He 
has quoted narrations from Sayyidina Anas, Abul 'Alia and 
Hasan Basri. Imam 'Ijli, Abu Hatim and Nisa'T, have used 

198: TahzTb m TahzTb, vlu, PP 280-284. MTzan ul-Ptidal, v4 p,73 

I JTJ™ 1 TahZlb Ut TahzTb are traced to «»* i" TarTkh 
Baghdad, KhatTb, pp 1 60- 169. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 507 

the word "j*l| ±>. ^-J" "<3>u»" 199 which is minor grade of 
affirmation. However, Yahya bin Mu'Tn says, ±>ju j gJm_ OiT 
"He was a S/i/a and committed excess". Imam Ibn Hibban 
has counted him among the "reliables" but at the same time 
he has said "there was a great deal of inconsistency in his 
narrations cited by Ibn Abi Ja'far Razi." 200 Ibn Hajar has 
summarised in these words, ,4 £-s^JW ^j f^j 1 *J Jj-u?" "He is 
truthful, but we get doubts in his reports of Traditions and 
he is also alleged to be a Sfiia." 201 


His full name is Abul Hasan 'Atiyyah bin Sa'd bin 
Junadah al-'Aufi al-Jadli (died 111AH). He belonged to 
Kufah (Iraq) and wa*s among the Tabi'Tn (followers of 
Companions). He had reported narrations from Abu Sa'Td 
Khudn, Abu Hurayrah, Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn 'Umar and Zayd 
bin*Arqam c$&. Imam Nisa T has called him weak. 202 Imam 
Ahmad, Yahya" bin Sa'Td al-Qattan, Hushaym, Abu Hatim, 
Ibn 'Adi, Jauzjani, Ibn Hibban, Abu Dawood and Saji have 
also considered him as weak. Only Ibn Sa'd has said about 

"He reports correct traditions but some people do 
not authenticate them". 

Imam Abu Zur'ah has called him, '\>1 " Which is a 
minor grade of affirmation. Yahya bin Mu'Tn has called 
him, "^lUp"Righteous which is also a minor affirmation. 

199: TahzTb ut TahzTb, v3, p239. and al-Jarah ut Ta'dTl, Ibn Abi 

Hatin, vl. p454. (part 2) Refe 2054. Daccan. 
200: TahzTb ut TahzTb, v3, p239. 
201 : TaqrTb ut TahzTb, vl , p243. 
202: Kitab ud Du'fa wal MatrukTn Nasa'i, TarTkli us SaghTr, Bukhari, 


508 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

There are four kinds of objections against him. Firstly, 
he has exaggerated when recounting the line of 
transmission. Imam Ahmad and Ibn Hibban have explained 
it thus: "He used to go to KalbT and ask him about exegesis 
and quoted him but because KalbT is regarded weak and 
defamed, so he gave KalbT the Kunyah of Abu Sa'Td, and 
whatever he heard from KalbT he reported in the name of 
Abu Sa'Td. Since 'Atiyyah Aufi had heard some Traditions 
from Abu Sa'Td Khudri, the unknowing people attributed 
KalbT' s narrations also to Khudri. 203 

The second objection is that he was a Shi a, and the 
third is that he used to make errors in reporting the 
narrations. The fourth objection is that he was a Mudallis 
(one who withholds the name of his Shaikh) Ibn Hajar said, 

"He was truthful but was very erratic. He was a 
Shi a and Mudallis. " 2 °4 j 

Hafiz Shamsuddin ZahabT has counted him among the 
weak and said about him, 

***-* J^ £>*** JJ&S** ^ 


He is a renowned Tabi'i and there is consensus 
that he is weak. 205 

However, Imam Tirmizi has considered some of his 
narrations as 'Hasan' 206 but in Tirmizi' s phraseology 
'Hasan' is every such Tradition whose line of 
transmission does not contain any narrator accused of 
lying, and it is reported by more than one method. 207 

203: TahzTb ut TahzTb, p225-226. 

204: TaqrTb ut TahzTb, v2. p24. 

205: Al-Mughni fi Ad-du'af'a, v2, p436, Refe 4139. 

206: Al-Itqan, v2, pi 89. 

207: Kirab-ul- 'jlal Tirmizi. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 509 

Hence, even with TirmizT's complement the objection 
made on 'Atiyyah 'AufT are not condoned and his 
weakness as a Traditionist persists. 


His full name is 'Abdur Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam 
al-'AdavT al-Madanl (died 182 AH).'He was the son of 
Zayd bin Aslam whose account we have gone through the 
preceding pages. Most of the Traditionists have considered 
him weak. Only Imam bin fc AdT has said. 

He has reported hasan Afyadith and he is among those 
narrators who have been tolerated. And some have affirmed 
them, and the Tradtions from him can be cited. All other 
critics hve taken him as weak, as enumerated below: 

U ^^ 


(Ali ibn Madini has called him very weak). 208 

Imam Nasa'i: weak. 209 Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu 
Zur'ah: weak. Imam Abu Dawood: all sons of Zayd ibn 
Aslam are weak. Imam Abu IJatim: personally, righteous, 
but in Hadith, very weak. Imam Ibn Khuzaymah said: 

He is not one of those, persons whose narration the 
scholars may cite because his memory was weak. 

208: At TarTkh al-Kabir, BukharT, v3, p284. _ 

209: Kitab-ul-Du 4 afa"wal MatrukTn, TarTkh as-Saghir. p296 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

His real merit was devotion and piety. 
Imam Ibn Hibban says: 

He used to alter the narrations unintentionally so 
much so that there are many examples where he has 
made Mursals into Marfu' and Mauquf into 
Musnad, hence he should be forsaken. 

Imam TahavT states: 

In the eyes of Tradditionists his narrations are 
very weak. 

Jta addition, severe criticism is reported about him from 
Imam Malik,_Imam Ibn Mu'Tn, DarawardT, Ma'an, Imam 
Ibn Sa'd, Saji, Hakim, Abu Nu'aym and JauzjanT. Ibn JozT 
has written. 

There is consensus that he is weak. 210 

Ibn Hajar's conclusion about him is that he was 
'weak'. 211 


His full name is Abu Nadar Muhammad bin Sa'ib 
bin Bishr bin 'Amr bin 'Abdul Harith bin Abdul c Uzza 
al-KalibT (died 146 AH). He was related to the tribe of 
Banu Kalb and was from Kufah. He was well-known as 

210: TahzTb ut TahzTb v6 ppl77-179. Mizan ul I 'tidal, v2, p564. 
211: TahzTb ut TahzTb vl p480. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 511 

a historian and in geneology and exegesis. There is a 
consensus of scholars that he was weak and unreliable. 
Only Ibn fc AdT has said about him, "All his narrations 
are correct except those pointed out by me, particularly 
those reported by Abu-Salih. He is famous for exegesis 
and nobody else has written a longer commentary. And 
some reliable persons have quoted his narrations and 
endured his exegesis. However, his Traditions are 
Munkar 9 rejected." All other scholars have censured him 

The most serious allegation against him is that of 
reporting false Traditions. Mu'tamar bin Sulaymari has 
quoted his father as saying, "There were two liars in 
Kufah. One of them was KalbT. " In exegesis, most of his 
reports are borrowed from Abu Salih but Abu Janab KalbT 
has stated that Abu Salih has stated on oath that he never 
spoke anything of exegesis to KalbT. Sufyan Thauri states, 
"Once KalbT himself admitted that the narrations of Ibn 
'Abbas which he reported from Abu Salih were all lies and 
should not be quoted. Some traditions have been narrated 
by Sufyan Thauri on the authority of KalbT. From this 
some people got the impression that KalbT must be 
authentic because a Tradtionist of the status of Sufyan had 
cited him. But this has been clarified by Abu Hatim in 
these words, "Sufyari ThaurT never meant to cite the 
narration of KalbT, but he 'sometimes narrated KalbT 1 s 
versions in his assembly in expression of surprise. On this 
some of his listeners reported them from Sufyan ThaurT. 2 ^ 2 
Qurrah bin Khalid has said, "People generally believed that 
KalbT was a liar." 

212: AH these narrations are qouted from TahzTb at TahzTb. However, 
Zahabi reported from Sufyan Thauri that he once said to the 
people "Beware of KalbT." They said, "But you qoute him." He 
said, "I can distinguish* his truth from falsehood." 

512 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

The other objection is that he was an extremist Shi c a 
Abu Juz says, "I have heard him saying that Jibril SsU 
once came with Wahy for the Prophet $Sjjg who had come 
out for some work and Sayyidina * *£&> was sitting there 
so JibrTl revealed that Wahy to AH." When this saying of 
Abu Juz was repeated before the great Traditionist YazTd 
bin ZarT' he said, "I did not hear this from KalbT but I 
have seen myself that he was beating his chest and saying 
'I am a Saba"'!, I am a Saba"'T. " The same has been 
reported by Hafiz Zahabi from Hummam. And Ibn 
Hibban said, "KalbT was a Saba'T. He was one of those 
who used to say Sayyidina AH «^?&> has not died, he will 
come again in this world and he will fill it with justice 
and fairplay when it will be full of tyranny and injustice. 
These are the people who say Amir-ul-Mu'minin (AH) is 
in it," when they see a cloud. 

In short, KalbT is the weakest commentator of the 
earlier era. Imam Ahmad was asked, "Is it proper to study 
the exegesis of KalbT?" His reply was "No". After a long 
account of KalbT, Hafiz ZahabT has written, ^J o/"* Jxt ^ 
f*i^\f9Sf V »-i-£» v^ 1 "Even his mention in the books is not 
proper, how then would it be correct to cite him. " 

In the end, one of his witticisms is being presented just 
for a diversion. Kalbi himself used to say, "I have 
exhibited the excellence of my memory as nobody could 
have done, and also that of my forgetfulness as nobody 
could have done. The example of my memory is that I had 
memorised the whole Quran in six or seven days. And the 
case of forgetfulness is that one day I held my beard in my 
fist to trim it below the fist but through foregetfulness I cut 
it off from above the fist. " 

Many other names are found in the books of exegesis, 
but those mentioned in this chapter are the ones who are 
referred to frequently. And it will not be wrong to say that 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 513 

the basic source of later exegesis are these commentators, 
and most of the exegesis revolve round the narrations and 
reports of these people. Hence, by knowing about these 
people great insight will be obtained in the study of all such 
exegesis where the method of exegesis by narrations is 
adopted, namely, Tafsfr Ibn Jarfr, 
TafsTr-ad-Durrul-ManthuY, and TafsTr Ibn KathTr etc, or 
those TafsTr in which the sayings of ancient commentators 
have been reported without proper citation, for instance, 
Ruhul Ma'ani TafsTr QurtabT and others. 


As has been stated in the beginning of this chapter, we 
have confined ourselves to the introduction of some of 
those commentators of the first era on whose narrations 
and sayings are based the entire science of exegesis. 
Whatever exegesis were written in the later periods and in 
whichever style the scholars of Islam rendered their 
services to the Quran, is a lengthy subject that calls for 
writing a separate book. Nobody can claim to have 
fulfilled the due right of exegesis of the Quran, but it is 
also an undeniable fact that the lovers of Islam have 
worked hard and with love and devotion in service of this 
great Book. Hence it can be claimed without any fear of 
contradiction that neither have so many exegeses of any 
book been written, nor so many translations made, and as 
much service rendered to it from different aspects 
although no universal organization was present at anytime 
for this purpose. 

Anyhow, today it has become very easy to obtain 
benefit from the Quran in the light of these services. 
Whoever wants to know the exegesis of any verse of the 
Quran, libraries are available to him. If an introduction is 
made only of those exegesis that are available today a 

5/4 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

complete compilation will be needed even for that. But here 
I will present a brief description even for that. But here I 
will present a brief description of only some exegesis to 
which I am deeply indebted, and which appear to me to be 
a summary of exegetic knowledge of our predecssors. And 
whenever I felt any problem in the exegesis of a verse I 
have first turned towards them. My humble opinion about 
them -is that for people like us who cannot make a regular 
study "of voluminous exegesis, these books make up the 
want of other books. 


On top of the list of these books if Tafsir Ibn Kathlr. 
This is the work of fcfafiz 'Imaduddin Abul Fida' Isma'Tl 
bin Al-KhatTb Abi Hat's 'Ulnar bin Kathlr Ash-Shafa'T 
(died 747 AH} and comprises four volumes. This book 
may be regarded -as a summary of Tafsir Ibn Jarlr. The 
method adopted bylbn-KathTr is Exegesis by narrations, 
that is, under every verse he has first described a 
summary of its exegesis, then he mentions whatever 
narrations and reports are available from the Prophet $£, 
or the Companions or their followers to explain its 
various words or sentences. But the earlier 
commentators viz. Ibn JarTr, Ibn Mardawayh and Ibn 
Majah etc who had followed this method only undertook 
the compiling of those narrations but they did not 
scrutinize them. Since Ibn KathTr was also an eminent 
Traditionist apart from being a commentator, and was 
well versed in the art -of criticism and review, he has' 
done away with those weak and Maw-d? narrations 
which were being transmitted by earlier commentators 
and, he has warned about relying on weak narrations. 
For instance see vl, pp77, 213 v3, ppl7 to 21 and 24 to 
89, v4, pp508, 519 and 520 etc. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 515 

The books on Exegesis by Narrations are mostly full 
of IsraTliyyats. Ibn KathTr is extremely cautious in 
treating these citations and his approach is clean and 
based on the Quran and Traditions. Its detail has already 
been given under the heading Isra'iliyyats in his own 
words. Hence, his first approach is that he has not cited 
many Isra'Tli narrations, and, if he has done so, he has 
defined them as Isra'Tli narrations. For instance, in 
Surah as Saffat he has quoted some reports which 
indicate that the sacrifice" offered related to Sayyidina 
IbrahTm/s & son Sayyidina Is'haq HS9, but he has 
immediately, clarified "Allah knows better, but 
apparently all these narrations have been reported by 

Ka"b ul-Ahbar in these reports all sorts of things, 

good and bad, were collected and this Ummah does not 
need a single word of all those things." (v4. pi7) 

Anyhow, from the narrative point of view TafsTr Ibn 
Kathir is the most cautious and reliable exegesis. But this 
does not mean that every narration quoted in this exegesis 
is correct. At some places Ibn KathTr has also quoted weak 
reports without indicating their weakness. For example, 
while explaining the verse of surah at-Tawbah, he has 
quoted a report from Tha'labah which according to 
Traditionists is weak. (v2, p374.) 

Apart from this, he has also cited many sayings of 
'weak' commentators, namely Muqatil. KalbT and 'Atiyyah 
*Aufi etc. But generally he has quoted without comment 
only those sayings which are not against any Islamic tenet. 
Hence, they are not of an authentic nature but only a 
commentator's own statement. 

516 An approach to the Quranic sciences 


The second book is Tafslr Kablr of Imam Razi. Its 
real name is Mafatih-ul-Gliayb but it is better known by 
the name of Tafsir Kabir. This is written by Imam 
Fakhruddin Muhammad Ibn Ziyauddin 'Umar Ar-Razi 
(died 606 AH). Just as Tafslr Ibn Kathlr is the most 
concise and matchless exegesis from a narrative point of 
view so also there is no parallel to Tafslr Kablr in 
relation to sciences of Reason. Some people have passed 
a funny remark on this exegesis J » r ~ j s }\ *i\ «-^ JT o (In it 
there is everything except exegesis), 213 But the fact is 
that this remark is cruely unjust to this 'book because 
this book has no equal in interpretation of the meanings 
of the Quran. 

The prominent features of this book are: 
1: The explanation, grammatical composition and 
background of revelation, and all the narrations related 
to them have been described by Imam Ra"zi in an 
organised manner with clarity and detail. Thus, the 
number of sayings in explanation of a particular verse 
are reproduced together and easily observed. In other 
exegeses these discussions are generally scattered or 
disorganized, due to which it becomes time consuming. 
But in Tafslr Kablr they can be found at one place and 
very well organised. 
2: He has described the grandeur and majesty of the 

Quran in detail. 
3: The legal injunctions relating to a verse have been 

described with detailed reasons. 
4: Any interpolations introduced by the erring sects 
and intellectuals in the meaning of any verse has 

213: AMtqaij, v2, But, in my humble opinion if this comment applies 
to any Tafslr, it describes Tafslr a l-Tawahir, Tantawi. 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 517 

been described in full and then refuted with 
detailed arguments. In this way it contains in it 
strong refutation of all the erring sects of his time, 
namely, Jahmiyyah, Mu 'tazilah, Mujasshnah, 
Xbafyiyyah etc. 
5: A very specific feature of TafsTr KabTr to which very 
little attention has been paid is the description of the 
link between the verses of the Quran. It is a fact that 
the reason for a link and affinity between the verses 
as described by him is so casual, appealing and 
reasonable that not only it imparts a sense of 
satisfaction but also an ecstatic feeling of elegance 
and grandeur of the Quran. 
6: Quranic injunctions and their mysteries and 
expediences have been very beautifully highlighted. 
In short, TafsTr KabTr is a very concise exegesis and 
my personal experience is that whenever I have found a 
difficulty, it has guided me to the right answer. 
Commonly people get upset by its lengthy discussions, 
(the exegesis of Surah Fatihah alone has covered 150 
pages). It is in the earlier part that the explanation is 
lengthy but takes on fewer words as it progresses. 
Priceless gems of knowledge and understanding may be 
received from it. 

However, certain things must be kept in mind in 
connection with this exegesis; 

I: Imam Ra~zi had written this exegesis upto Surah 
al-Fath when he died. Hence, after this Surah 
another scholar Qadi Shah abud- din bin KhalTl al 
Khauli, al Damashqi (died 639 AH) or Shaikh Najm 
ud din Ahmad bin Al-QamTTli (died 777 AH) 214 , 
completed it. It is so marvelously done and the style 
of Imam Razi has been so thoroughly maintained 

214: Kashf-uz-Zunun, v2, p477. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 


that anyone not aware of this fact would never 
suspect that this was written by someone other than 
Imam Rlzi, 

The narrations of Tafslr Kablr, like other exegeses are 
a collection of good and bad together. 
Occasionally Imam Razi has adopted a view 
different from that of other commentators. For 
instance, he has rejected the authentic tradition ^ 
oboT c-i: •>!> ,*-a!^i ^-i£i (Ibrahim did not tell a lie 
except on three occasions). Hence, where he has 
differed from the accepted view, the established view 
should be adopted. 


The full name of this exegesis is Irslicid-Ul-' 
Sallm Ila Mazaya Al-Quran al-Karlm. It is written by 
Qa"di Abu Sa'ud Muhammad bin Muhammad Al-MmaqT 
al-HanafT (died 951 AH). It is indeed a masterpiece 
work, exhibiting his depth of knowledge, insight and 
understanding of Quran. It has five volumes and is a 
magnificent exegesis of the Quran in a concise manner. 
The most prominent feature of this exegesis is that one 
finds some highly refined and subtle points about the 
Quran, relation of its verse and its eloquence. It allows 
for an easy understanding of the Quran and the 
excellence of its miraculous style can also be easily 


Its full name is Al-Jcimi' li -Ahkam-ul-Qufan. It is 
written by the famous research scholar of Andulus 
Spain, 'Alla~mah Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad" bin 
Ahmad bin Abi Bakr bin Farah al-QurtubT (died 671 
AH). He was a follower of Imam Malik's school of 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 519 

thought in Islamic Jurisprudence. The basic purpose 
of this book was to deduce juristic injunctions and 
rulings from the Quranic verses but in this connection 
he has very aptly commented on the meanings of 
verses, scrutiny of difficult words, composition and 
rhetoric and relevant narrations in the exegesis. 
Particularly the instructions obtainable from the 
Quran for everyday life have been clearly explained. 
The preface of this book is also detailed and 
comprises important discussions on the sciences of the 
Quran. It has twelve volumes and has been published 

5: RUH-UL-MA'AM £* 

Its full name is Ruli-id-Ma'Tinl fl Tafslr-il-QurTin-il- 
'A$lm wa Sab'ul Mat Irani and this is written by the 
renowned scholar of Baghdad 'All amah Muhammad AIusT 
Hanafi «Op <&i i^j (died 1270 AH) and consists of 30 
volumes. Since this is the publication of latest era, he has 
tried to gather important discussions of previous exegeses. 
Hence elaborate discussions have been carried out on 
language, grammar, literature, rhetoric, jurisprudence, 
beliefs, etymology, geophysics, astronomy, philosophy, 
spiritualism and relevant narrations. An attempt has been 
made that no scientific and literary problem should remain 
unanswered. In the matter of reporting of Traditions also 
'Allamah Alusi had been more careful than other 
commentators. In this respect it may be called synopsis of 
the earlier exegeses, and no work on exegesis of Quran can 
do without help from this work. 

The above five exegeses, according to my humble 
opinion are such that if anyone confines himself to 
them, he will not have to look out for other exegesis. 
This was my personal view, but later on I found 

520 An approach to the Quranic sciences 

support for it in an article written by the respected and 
venerable scholar Mawlana Sayyed Muhammad Yusuf 
Banorl. In his precious article Yatimat-ul-Bayan he 


"Since life is short, difficulties excessive, and 
courage of our time is low and resolves 
weakened... hence I wish to point out to my 
student brothers four such exegesis as would be 
sufficient for them if they just confine themselves 

to these. 

One is, Tafslr Ibn kattilr about which our 
teacher CAilamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri) used 
to say, 'if any book can make one independent 
of another book, it is Tafslr Ibn kathlr which 
removes the need for Tafslr Ibn Jarlr.' The 
second is TafsTr KabTr of Imam Razi about 
which our reverend teacher used to say, 'Of all 
the difficult things in the Quran 1 did not find 
any difficulty which Imam Razi had not dealt 
with. It is another matter that sometimes he 
could not present a solution to the difficulties 
as could satisfy the soul.' And the saying that 
it has everything but TafsTr is meant only to 
lower its exalted status, and is perhaps uttered 
by a person who was overwhelmed by 
narrations and paid no attention to the depth of 
knowledge of the Quran. The third is Tafslr 
Ruh ul Ma'lFnl which in my opinion is an 
exegesis for the Quran on the pattern of 
Fat^h-ul-BarT, the exegesis of Sahih Bukhari, 
except that Fath-ul-BarTis the interpretation of 
human words. It has p_aid the debt of the 
K* exegesis of Sahih Bukhari on the Ummah. But 
the words of Allah are much higher and more 

- • ■ 521 

Ar. approach to the Quranic sciences 

exalted for any human being to give its_ due ^* 
right. The Fourth is Tafsir Abi as-Sa'ud in 
which special attention has been paid to 
describe the Quranic order in a remarkable 
style and very often it replaces Zamakhshari's 

Kashaf " 215 

In this aricle, except for Tafsir Qurtubi, all the 
other four books have been recommended on the same 
lines as I had conceived. I thank Almighty Allah for 
the similarity of my views with the reverend Anwar 
Shah Kashmiri and his favourite student Mawlana 


This discussion pertained to exegeses in Arabic 
language. In Urdu language Maulana Ashraf 'Ali 
Thanavi's Up &\ i*^ Bay an-ul-Quran is unique 
exegesis in respect to its subjects; and its greatness can 
be felt only when one turns towards it after passing 
through the voluminous books on exegesis. However, 
since its language is high flown and technical, general 
Urdu readers felt difficulty in understanding it. In view 
of this my esteemed father Maulana Mufti Muhammad 
Shaf i Up k\ '^j has written_a detailed_exegesis in 8 
volumes by the name of Ma'arif-ul-Quran which also 
contains a simplified and summerised version of 
BayTn-ul-Qura'n. It contains an excellent 
interpretatioon of the Quranic injunctions pertaing to 
present day requirements of life as well as a complete 
review of the problems of modern civilisation. Of all 
the books of exegesis that have come out so far in 
Urdu language this is a unique exegesis in which 
alongwhith a complete presentation of the ways and 
ideas of the ancient dignitaries in exegesis, the needs 

215: Yatimatul Bay an, Muqaddama (preface) Mushkilatul Quran, 
PP 23,24. Majlis 'Ilmi. Delhi 1357. AH. 


An approach to the Quranic sciences 

of present time have also been fulfilled in the best 
possible manner. By the Grace of Allah this exegesis is 
gaining immense popularity and tremendous benefits 
are being obtained by its readers. 

In the end I pray that Almighty Allah may give us 
the ability to^ recognize the elegance and grandeur of the 
Noble Quran, bestow on us the wealth of its true 
understanding, and give us the capacity to pay the due 
rights through recital, practise on its injunctions and its 
propagation and publicity. 

p£~Ji UlydW e^—jl (HdJt <-S^ J> J~^ ) <j4 (-P 

** J > ^ & > ?, *• * 

O Allah, protect me from the fear of my grave. 

Allah, have mercy on me through the Great 
Quran, and let it be for me a leader, a light, a 
guide and a mercy. O Allah, teach me of it what 

1 know not, and remind me what 1 have forgotten 
of it, and cause me to recite it by day and by 
night. And, let it be a pleader for me, O Lord of 
the worlds. 

Praise belongs to Allah, from the first to the 
last. And may blessings of Allah be on Sayyidina 

An approach to the Quranic sciences 

Muhammad and his family, his companions, his 
wives and his followers, all of them. 

Muhammad Taqi 'Utlwiani 
(Lailaiul junta of L5 Rabi uth-Thani 
1396 AH. Darul •Ulum Karachi). 


An approach to the Quranic Sciences 




Aadam: 345,416,428 
Aalusi: 1 10, 175,340,369, 520, etc. 
Aamir Ibn Jadarah, 207, 
Abbad Ibn Bishar: 241, 
Abbas Ibn Mus'ab Marwazi : 504, etc., 
Abdul Aswad Du'ali, 206, 
Abdul Aziz ai Najar, : See Najar, 
Abdul Aziz Far Hari, 37, 
Abdul Bar Nadwi: 394,396 
Abdul Hayy Lakhnavi: 498 
Abdul Malik Ibn Maisarah : 498 
Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan, 206, 476, 
Abdul Muttablib, 101, 
Abdul Qadir al Jurjani; 262, 
Abdul Qadir Baghdadi. 420,439, 
Abdul Rahman Ibn Yazid Nakh'i: 237, 
Abdul Rahman Ta'ures Ibn Kaisan al 
Humayri ai Jundi: see Ta'ures 
Abdullah Ibn Amr, 41,367,473,499, 
Abdullah Ibn Ja'far: 492, 
Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud: 66,98,99,102, 
482,487, etc., 492, etc. 
Abdullah Ibn Mughfal: 476 
Abdullah Ibn Muqaffa: 266, 
Abdullah Ibn Salam: 366 
Abdullah Ibn Umaiyah, 101, 
Abdullah Ibn Zubayr: 218,476, 

Abdullah Ibnb Kathir ul Dari, 218, 
Abdullah Nafi Ibn Hurmaz: 494, 
Abdullah Yahsubi: 218 
Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf, 82, 105, 
Abdur Rahman Ibn Harith 

Ibn Hisham. 199 
Abdur Rahman Ibn Zayn 

Ibn Aslam : 509, 
Abdus Samad Rahmani, 172, 
Abdus Samad Sarim:465,475, 
Ablution: 346 
AbnAshtah: 150,159, 
Abrogation, Jews disagree, 167, 
Abu Sulaiman Khattabi:264, 
Abu Abdullah Hussain 

Ibn Halimi Al Jurjani: 43, 
Abu Abdullah Ibn Mandah: 478 

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Tyfur 

Sajawandi: See Sajawandi, 

Abu Abdullah Zayd Ibn Aslam A) 

Amri : 487, 

Abu Abdur Rahman Sulmi: 354,370 

Abu Ahmad al Fardi: 248, 

Abu Al Aliyah: 472 

Abu Amr Ibn sharahil al Sharbi al 

Humayri : See Shahi 

Abu AmrZabban:218, 

Abu Awanah, 43, 

Abu Ayyub Ansari: 218, 

Abu Badr Ibn At Tayyib 

Baqiliani: 115,117,134,143, 
Abu Bakr al Anbari: 238, 
Abu Bakr Ibn Muqsim: 

See Ibn Muqsim 
Abu Bakr Muhammad 
Ibn Sirin: 486,501, 
Abu Bakr,91, 100,106,1 11, 
Abu Bustam Mughlil 

Ibn Haiyyan: 502, 
Abu Darda: 472,484 
AbuDawood, 149, 
Abu Hatim Ibn Hibban: 478 
Abu Hatim Ibn Mandah:478 
Abu Hatim Sijistani, 109, 210, 213, 
Abu Hazim: 488, 
Abu Hurayrah, 105, 218365, 

Abu Ibn Ka'b, 105, 


Abu Ja'far Yazid Ibn al Qaqa: 220, 

Abu Jahl, 101,263, 

Abu Juham. 106, 

Abu Khuzaymah, 194, 

Abu Lahab, 90, 

Abu Lubabah: 494 

Abu Mas'ud al Badri: 476 

AbuMusa Asha'ari, 157,298,472,473, 


Abu Muslim Isfahani, 172, etc. 

Abu Nu'aym Isphani :466,476,483, 

Abu Qasim Dahhat : 

See Dahhak Ibn Muzahim 
Abu Sa'id al Khudri, 106,365, 


An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


AbuSa'id Warsh:2I8 
AbuSalamah, 124, 
Abu Salih; 467,470, 
Abu ShakoorSalim'i, 33, 
Abu Shamah, 60,193, 
AbuSufyan IbnHarb,207, 
Abu Sufyan Ibn Umaiyyah 207 
AbuTalha, 106, * 

AbuTalib, 100,298, 
Abu Tammam:270, 

AbuTayyib, 116, 


Abu Ubayd Qasim, 105, 

Abu Umar Ibn Abdul Barr: 478 

Abu Umay Qasim, 217 

Abu Ya'ia: 264, 

Abu Zar'ah: 490,498 

Abu Zarr; 365,494, 

Abul Aliyah Rufai Ibn Mehran AI 
Riyahi: 489 
AbuJ Aliyah, 75, 

Abul FadI Muhammad Ibn Fa'far 
Khaza'i; 249 

Abul FadI Razi, 115, 117 123 

AbulFarj Muhammad Ibn Ahmed 

Shambuzi: 220 

Abul HaqHaqqani, 151, 

Abul Hasan AJi Ibn Hamza AI Kisai 

AI Nahvi;2I9, 

Abul Hasan Ash'ari, 134, 143, 

Abul Hasan Mugatil 

Ibn Sulayman : 502, 
Abul Khatlab Qaladah : See Qatadah 
Abul Ma'ali, 27 
Abul Walid AI Baji AI Muntaqa 
Sharah Al-Muwatta , 136 f 137 143 
Abus Saud: 280, 

Adwa ul-Bayan fi Idah ul Quran bil 

Quran: 350 

Aishah, 39, 41,43,44,62, 

Ajubah tul Fadila : 498 
AkbareAhad: 424, 
Akhmas, 209, 
Akkad: 288 

AI Aql wan Nayl, :463, 
alcohol: 446 etc. 
Ali Ibn Abu Talha: 467,468, 
Ali Ibn Abu Talib: 470 etc. 492 etc 
Allah , if there is: 50, 
Allah is independent of 

place & direction, 40, 
allegical meaning to Quran,: 42 1 
Alqamah: 236, 493, 
Amir Ibn Dinar: 482 
AmirSha'bi, 145, 
Amrlbn Aas, 106, 
Amrlbn Ali al-Falas: 366 
Amr Ibn Lahi pioneer of 
idol worship: 319, 

Amr Ibn Salamah, 185, 
Anaq, 80, 

Anas, 72, 95, 106, 150,218, 


486 etc.,492. 
Angel appears first time, 62, 
Anima Magnetism, 52, 
Anitos Apifonis: 287, 
Anwar Shah Kashmiri, 35 36 

Aqiqat ul Islam fi Hayat Isa, 433 
arguments: 424 
Armenian, 198, 
Arwah Ibn Zubair, 84, 
Aryusis: 297, 

Asaf, 84, 

Asbabul Nuzool, 80, 86, 90 etc 94 96 

Ashar, 209, ' ' 

Ashraf Ali Thanvi: 409,422, 

Asim al Laythi : 207 

Asim Ibn Abu an Najud: 219 

Asim Ibn Damrah and Harith : 236 

Aslam Ibn Sidrah, 206, 

AsmaurRijal: 353 

Aswad: 236,493, 

Ata al Khurasani: 483, 

Ata Ibn Abu Rabah Ibn 

al Madini : 490 
Ata Ibn al Rabah: 483 
Ata Ibn al Sa'ib: 483, 
Ata Ibn Dinar: 476, 
Ata Ibn Yasar: 483* 

Athavi Mushkil al Aathar 110 

Atiyah Ibn Aufi: 469; 
Atiyah Ibn Sa'd Ibn Junadah, 

al Aufi alJadli: 507, etc' 
Awflbn Malik: 365, 
Awjuz al Masalik, 107, 153 
Ayad: 107,134,143, 
Ayshah: 473,482, etc.,487, etc., 
Ayyub Ibn Hani, 102, 

An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


Azerbaijan, 198, 


Babul (Babylon) : 287, 
Badr, Battle of: 61,67,86,284, 
Badruddin Ayni: 43,133, 
Badruddin Zarkashi, 57, 81, 94, 

134, 184,209, 
Bahrul Ulum: 236, 
Baihaqi: 60,64,75, 
Bakht Nassar: 287,306, 
Banori : See Muhammad Yusuf 
Banu Amr Ibn Umayr: 93, 
Banu Mughirah: 93, 
Banu Qurayzah: 491 
Bara Ibn Aazib: 492 
Batiriiyyah: 4 15,4 J 8,420,439, 
Bayan fil ulum il Quran: 151, 
Bayan li Mushkilat ul Quran: 269, 
Bayan ul Quran: 522 
Baydawis: 413, 
Bayt al Maqdis: 48,83, 
Baytul Izzat: 59,60, 
BaytuI Ma'moor: 60, 
Bayyinat: 30 7, 
Bell ringing: 39 
Bell, Richard: 78, 
Bell: 220, 

Bible se Quran lak: 256,257,281,286, 
Bible: 361, 
Bidayah wan Nihayah: 240, 

476 etc., 480 etc. 497, 
Binyamin: 336, 
Bishar Ibn Ammarah:469 
Blachere, Regis: 78, 
Bolan: 207, 

Book which water cannot wash: 181, 
Braid, James: 53 
Buhaira: 297, etc. 
Buhl, F : 224, 
Bukhari: 41,44,45,62,152, 
Burhan fi ulum ul Quran: 57,81, 

Burhan Zakaria:343,357,414, 
Byzantine: 197, 


Castration: 95, 
Cave ofHirah: 62, 
Change of times: 459,460 
Coitus: 96, 
Constantinopolc: 283, 

Coran traduction: 78, 


Dahhak Ibn Muzahim: 469,497, etc. 
Darwin's Theory of Evolution : 423. 

Dawood (Prophet): 37, 362 
Day of Ressurection : 144, 
Debtor, give respite: 93, 
Deeriemi: 68, 

Defeated mentality alien to Islam: 460, 

Dictionary of the Bible: 304, 
Dihyah Kalbi: 42, 
Durr Manthur: 95, 


Eddington, Sir Arthur: 394 
Ehkam: 142, 
Einstein: 394,423,-^- " 
Encyclopaedia Britanica: 287, 

305, 383,431, etc.. 
Encyclopaedia of Islam: 224,226, 
Encyclopaedia of religion 

and Ethics: 231, 
Esvirus: 305, 

everything created in pairs: 289,290, 
Evil should not be endorsed : 460 
Evolution, theory : 423 
Exegesis available currently : 515, etc.. 
Exegesis Science of : 339 
Exegesis, principles of : 41 1 
Expedience & motive : 445 


Fadal Ibn Abbas : 484 

Faid ul Bari: 36,41,46,65,1 10, 

112,141, 236, etc., 
Fallas: 501 

Fara: 159,161,187,217,235, 

Farq Baynel Firq : 415,420,439, 
Fatawa Alamgiriyah: 210, 
Fath al Mulhim: 237, 
Fath ul Bari: 40,44,64,79,80, 

Fathu Rabbani: 41,158,161, 
Fatihah Revealed twice: 65, 
Fatimah Bint al Khattab: 1 87 - 
Fatrah: 43,63,64, 
Fawzul Kabir: 87 etc.,103,275. 
Finger prints: 310, 

An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


Firaun: 305,361 
Firashi: 72, 

Fly pestered Khalifah Mansur: 505 
Freud : 397 
Friedman, Dr. : 441 


Galilei : 395 
Garvie, A.E. : 397, 
Geschichtedes Qurans: 78 
Ghazzali: 137,143, 
Gibbon, Edward; 283, 
Gof& Magof : See Yajuj Majuj 
Goldzihar: 245,468,477,480, etc. 
Granity , Theory of : 423, 
Guarded Tablet: 59,61, 


Hadith Mu'allal: 237, 
Hadith Qudsi: 57, 
Hadith Shaz: 237, 
Hadri&Safri: 71, 

Hafs Ibn Maisarah: 97, 

Hafs Ibn Sulayman: 2 19, 

Hafsah: 196, 1 99,243, 

Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf : 206, 476, 

Hakim: 45,60,157, 

Hallul Intibahat: 409 

Haman: 305, 

Hamawi: 366, 

Hamzah Ibn Habib: 218,236, 

Haqaiq ut Tafsir :370, 

Harith Ibn Abu Usamah : 467 

Harith Ibn Hisham: 39 

Harith: 236, 

Hasan al Basri: 206,220,490 

Hawwa; 345, 

Hermit recognises Mubammad: 298 

Hifzar Rahman Siyuharvi: 430 

Hijab: See veil 

Hilal Ibn Umaiyyah:99, 

Hilyat ul Awliya : 476,483, etc. ,487, 


Hirschfold, Hartwing: 78, 

Hisham Ibn Hakim: 105,109,128,130, 

Hisham: 218, 

Homosexuality: 439, 

Hudaibiyah: 66, 

Hufaaz Martyred: 191, 

Hufaaz of Quran: ,184, 

Hujjat ul Balagah : : 48 

Human Rationale or Logic : 421 

Hume: 397, 

Huxley: 397, 

Hypnotism: 53, 


I'jazcl Quran: 281, 
Iblis: 95 

Ibn Abbas: 60,82,83,96,99, 
364, etc., 465, etc.,483,492 
Ibn Abdul Bar: 109,112, 
Ibn Abu Hatim : 468,472, 
Ibn Abu Shaybah: 60,97,209, 
Ibn Amr : See Abdullah Ibn Amr 
Ibn Asakir:75, 
IbnatTayyib: 123,143, 
Ibn Hajar: 40,43,63,64,98 

IbnHazm: 135,143,151,236, 
Ibn Jarir Tabari: 62,63,96,109, 

Ibn Jarir: 468,471 , etc.,478,479, 
Ibn Jauzi: 350 

Ibn Jazari: 105, 106,1 09, 

Ibn Jurayj : 496, 

Ibn Kathir: 75,82,131,362,497, 


Ibn Khallikan; 222, 366 

Ibn Khaysam al Qurayshi: 483 

Ibn Mardawiyah: 60, 

Ibn Miqsam: 222, 

Ibn Mu'in : 498, 502, 

IbnMujahid: 106,217,220, etc., 

Ibn Mulaykah: 496, 

Ibn Qutaybah: 1 15,1 17,123,142, 

IbnSa'd: 145,366 

Ibn Shambuz: 222, 

Ibn Sirin : 480, 486, 

Ibn Taymiyah : 94,362, 487 

Ibnul Anbari: 144, 

Ibn ul Arabt:106, 

Ibn ul Qayyim: 38,41,187, 

Ibn Umar; 96,97,495, 

Ibn Umer freed Nafi' rather than 

receive 30,000 dirham : 495 

Ibn us Salah: 237,371 

Ibn Wahb: 113,236, 

Ibn Zubay : Sec Abdullah Ibn Zubayr 


An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


Ibrahim Nakh'i: 493 
Ibrahim, Prophet: 392, etc.. 
Idol worship, pioneer: 319, 

Ifk: 75, 

Ijli: 366,479,492 

Ikrimah : 05, 477, etc. 

Ilham: 46, 

Injeel: 76, 

Intibahat al Mufidah : 409,422 

Intoxicated while praying: 82. 

Iran: 197, 

Isa: 256,309 clc.,324, etc., 

Ishaq (Prophet): 281, 

Islam aur Mujizat : 397, 

Islam Spread lo far Hung areas: 197, 

IsmaiHProphet) : 256,281, 

Israfil. 42 

Israiliyyat: 361.362, 

Istiyab: 240,467 

Itqam fi uloom ul Quran :27.4I.clc.,45, 

47,60.61,64,65,67,73,75,77,83, K5, 

90,94,96etc, 102,1 15,125,150,171. 

Itqan: 342,350,357,370,371,373, 



Jabir: 96,97,366,477,487,492, 
Jahmia: 504,518, 
Jamaluddin al Qasim: 171, 
James Jeans: 395 
Jauzjani; 501 
Jeffery, Arthur: 243etc, 
Jews dumbstruck al challenge: 285, 
Jibril: 42 etc.,45, 54,75,76,97,107. 
Jubayr Ibn Mut'am: 484, 
Judaica : Sec Israiliyyat 
Jundub: 97, 
Jurisprudence : 440, 


Ka'b al Hibr : See Ka'b a! Ahbar 

Humayri): 364, etc., 499, 
Ka'blbn Ujrah: 492, 
Ka'bah: 60,83. 
Kalbi: 502, 

Kanzul Ummal: 144,152,155, 
Karmathians: 287, 
Kash uzZunur 366, 
Kashafulhuda: 78, 
Kashfal Asrar: 413, 

Kashf: 46. 

Kathir Ibn Allah: 200, 

Kauthar: 472 

Kauthari: Sec Zahid Kauthari 

Kelon: 397, 

Khabbab Ibn Aralt: 188, 

Khadijah: 63,64, 

Khadiviyah Libray: 475 

Khalaf Ibn Hisham: 219,220,236. 

Khalid Ibn Hazza: 480 

Khalifah: 366, 

Khalil Ibn Ahmad: 207, 

Khallas Ibn Khalid: 219, 

Khanj :478,479, 

Khasais al Kubra: 263, 

Khasft 475, 

Khatib: 222 


Khayrah: 490 

Khudri Danyati:I43, 

Khumayr Ibn Malik; 157, 

Khurasan: 497, 

Khuzaymah Ibn Thabit Ansari: 201, 

Kiranwi: 281, 

Kisai: 236 

Kishaf an Haqaiq Ghawamed ul 

Tanzccl : 64, 

Kitabal DuaTa: 502 

Kitabul Masahif: 150, 

Knowledge, three sourcs: 31,32, 

Knowledge: 31, 


Kuthayyir Azzah: 480 


Law of Gravity: 395 
Layla versus: 71, 
Legal Theory: 44 1 , 
Li'an: 99, 
Lister: 397 
Lotzc: 397, 
Luh Mahfooz: 61. 


Ma'ari ul Quran : 521, 

Madaini. 205. 

Madarij ul Salikecn. 38. 

Mahdi. Imam. 87, 

Makkah, Conquest of , 39,284, 

Makkan/Madinan Surahs, 68, etc. 

Malik, Imam, 120, 142, 

Mamun, 209, 

Manahilul lrfan 27,47,60,67,68, 

An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


Manlay Ulhman, 215, 
Maqalat al Kawthari, 238,365 
Margollouth. DS, 226. etc. 
Marwah, 84, 
Maryam, 303, etc. 
Mas'udi: 366 
Masruq, 209,236, 471 
Mawardi: 372 

Mazahib at Tafsir ul Islami : 478, etc., 
Mazhab and Science: 396, 
Mcsmcr, 52, 
Mesmerism. 52, 
MMah usSa'adah : 497 
Mikail, 1 13, 
Minhaj us Sunnah : 487 
Mink al Fikrijyah, 211, 
Miracles: 391. etc., 
Miskat ul Masabih, 42, 
Modernist: Sec also Rcnvish : 416 
Mohammad Yusuf Banori: 433,521 
Mother, like the back of, 92, 
Mother's womb, two years in : 497, 
Motive: 445,459 
Mif ammar: 472, 
MiTattalah: 504, 

Mu'awiyah: 365,467,477,490, etc., 
Mu'az Ibn Jabal, 105, 473,482, 
Muajjam Buldan. 288, 
Mubider, Arther. 77, 
Mudallis: 508 

Mufradat fi Gharib al Quran, 28, 
Mugatil Ibn Sulayman: 470 
Mughira Ibn Shu'bah: 492, 
Mughira Ibn Shahab Mukhzumi, 218, 
Muhammad (Prophet): 350,364, 

Muhammad Amin Ibn Muhammad 
Mukhtar Shanqiti: 350 
Muhammad Amin Shanqiti : 

See Shanqiti 
Muhammad Ibn Abdur Rahman 

Ibn Mujahid: 220, 
Muhammad Ibn Hassan Ibn Yaqub 

Ibn Muqsim: 247. 
Muhammad Ibn Ka'b, 264, 491, 
Muhammad Ibn Marwan 

al Suddiyyi as Saghir: 469, 
Muhammad Ibn Nasr Marwazi : 478 
Muhammad Ibn Sa'ib al Kalbi: 469, 
Muhammad Ibn Sirin, 145, 

Muhammad Majit Muty'i, 143, 

Muhammad recognised 
by hermit, 298, 

Muhammad Shafi Mufti: 521, 

Muhammad Yusuf Banori. 271, 

Muhammad, (Prophet), 31. 42, 45, 49 
59,59,61,96, 151. 171. 173, 
223, 255, 257,263.385,290, 307 

Muhammad, Imam: 358, 

Muhiuddin Ibn Arabi. 40, 

Muir, Willima, 78, 

Mujaddid AlfThani. 46, 

Mujahid. 475. 496 

Mujassimah : 504.505. 

Mukhassas, 268. 

Mullah Ali Qari, 137, 138. 1 43. 

Muqaddamah fi usul ut Tafsir. 94, 

Muqaddamah Ibn Khuldun: 461 

Muqaddamah Nasbur Rayab : 472 

Muqatil Ibn Sulayman : Sec Abu 

Buslan and Abul Hassan 

Murdeke, 306, 

Murrah al Hamdani : 494 
Murshid Ibn Abu Marthid 

Ghanavi, 80, 
Murwan Ibn Hakam, 196, 
Musa (Prophet), 38, 45, 76, 255. 

309, etc.358,361, 
Musaffa Sharah Muwatta, .107, 
Mushkilal ul Quram: 521, 
Muslim ,Salih, 147, 
Mustafa Sabri Bak: 397, 
Mustafa, 137, 138, 
Mutashabihat: 421,426, 
Mutawatir: 424 
Mutazilah, 172, 
Muzdalifah, 86, 
Mysterious Universe: 396, 


Naftiat al Anber: 433 

Nafi Ibn Abdur Rahman Ibn Abi 

Na'im, 218, 

NafTIbn Ka'us: 494, etc., 

Nahari verses, 71, 

Nailah, 84, 


Nasai, 60, 

Nasr Ibn Asim Laythi, 206, 

Nastura, 297, 

Nawawi, 237,483,485,493, 

Nero, 287, 

An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


New Researches, 78, 

Ncwion: 395,423, 

Night of Power, 61, 

Nimrud, 313, 

Nizamuddin Qummi Nishapuri, 114, 

Noldeke, Theodore, 78, 243, etc. 

Nooh, 36, 295, 

Nuishr fil Qirat, 106, 1 10, 1 15, 1 17, 
121,125,131,133, 138, 140, 

Nuruddin Havthmi, 236, 


Orientalists admit Prophet 

never lied, 296, 
Orientalists explanation of 

wahy, 291, etc. 
Orientalists withdrawn 
accusations, 290 etc, 


Paton, : 440,454, etc., 

Pharoah: see fir'aun 

Pirclotus, 257, 

Plank, Max: 395 

Polytheist parents, 101, 

Prophet, duties of, 55, 

Prophet's mothers grave, 102, 

Prophet's prayer for Ibn Abbas: 466. 


Qalqashandi: 206, 

Qari Abu Bakr : See Baqillani 

Qasas uI-Quran: 430 

Qasr prayer: 446, 

Qastalani Irshad us Sari: 39,141, 

Qatadah: 234,475,491, 

Qaydar: 256, 

Qazan: 215, 

Qiblah: ,83, 

Quantum Theory : 395, 

Quern, how written: 187, 

Quran explained by comnon sence: 

359, etc., 
Quran explained by companions : 

354, etc., 
Quran explained by Hadith : 350, etc., 
Quran explained by Qur'an : 344, etc., 
Quran explained by Tabi'ee: 357, etc., 
Quran, scribes 186,187, 
Quran, abregalion: 167 etc.,. 
Quran, and chrislians:324 etc, 

Quran, and hypocrites: 326 

Quran, arrangement of Surahs: 80,158, 

Quran, background of revelation: 80, 

Quran, background: 328, 

Quran, children can detect mischief: 

Quran, commandments: 326. etc. 
Quran, committee to prepare copies: 

Quran, diacritical marks: 207 
Quran, dots on letters: 205,206, etc., 
Quran, doubts about preservation: 223, 
Quran, first revelation: 293 
Quran, five verses: 209, 
Quran, four kinds of arguments :308, 
Quran, gradual compilation: 158, 
Quran, Hadri & Safri versus: 71, 
Quran, Hizb, Manzil: 208, 
Quran, how different readings spread 
every where: 216, 
Quran, Ibn Mas'ood's 
disagreemant: 1 56etc., 
Quran, inaccuracies in exegesis: 

375, etc., 
Quran, jews: 322 etc., 
Quran, Juz or parts: 208, 
Quran, last verses of Surah Tawbah: 

Quran, looking for odd evidences: 

401, etc., 
Quran, Makkan & Madinan Surahs: 

Quran, Miracles: 272 etc., 
Quran, Miraculous attributes: 266 etc, 
Quran, monopoly of the Ulama: 

380, etc., 
Quran, names: 27 
Quran, objection: 303, 
Quran, order of revelation different & 
not remembered: 77, 
Quran, pairs, of every thing, 289, 290, 
Quran, preservation: 181, 
Quran, printing: 215, 
Quran, Prophecies: 281 etc.,, 
Quran, Prophet's heart a repository: 

Quran, purpose of revelation: 415, etc., 
Quran, reading: 105 etc., 
Quran, retained by seven years old: 

Quran, ruku or section: 210, 

An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


Quran, rumuz al awqaf (punctuation 

marks): 210, 
Quran, safeguard of: 286 etc, 
Quran, self conceived views: 372, etc., 
Quran, seven well-known reciters: 

218 etc., 
Quran, standard copy: 151, 
Quran, Stores, : 28 fn 
Quran, style of language: 70 
Quran, subjects of: 307, 
Quran, Sufi explanations 369, etc., 
Quran, task of collection: 191 etc., 

197, etc., 
Quran, the challenge: 260 etc., 
Quran, those who had memorised it: 

Quran, three conditions of reliable 
recital: 217,222,246,249, 
Quran, three fundamental beliefs: 307, 
Quran, why not rcvcald at once: 

75, etc., 
Quran, Withdrawn Marauder: 287, 
Quran, written copies existed in 
Prophet's times: 188,189, 
Quran.word for word Allah,s: 54, 
Quran-e-Muhkam: 172, 
Qurani first verses: 62,63, 
Qurtabi: 83,520 


Rabf Ibn Anas : 472,506, etc., 
Rabi' JbnZiyad : 490, 
Rafa'i :73, 

Rail' Ibn Khadij : 484,494, 
Raghib Isphani, 28 fh 
Ramzi Na'nah: 365, etc., 
Rasheed Raza: 46, 367, 
Razi: 77,91 ,120,236,280,421 ,5 1 7 
Reasoning faculty:31. 
Reasoning: 423, etc., 435, etc., 
Rectal coitus: 96, 

Relatively, Theory of : 423, etc.. 
Revelation. 32, 
Revivalists : 391, etc., 
Risalali ash Shafiyah:262, 
Rodwell.J.M.: 78,79, 297, 
Roman victory:282, 

RuhulMa'ani : 110, 175,340, 
370, etc.,520, etc., 

Sa'd Ibn Jubayr : 469,476, 

Sa'eedlbnal Aas:199 

Sa'id Ibn al Musayyib : 484 



Safya: 486, 

Sahl Ibn Sa'd:99, 

Sajji : 501 

salah while intoxicated:82, 

Salamah Ibn al Akwaf: 487 

Samarvi: 73/ 

Samurah Ibn Jundub:106 


Sayfi verses: 71 

Science of Recitals: 216. 

Sciences of religion, first writer of 

Senses, five:31 
Sha,bi: 42, 477,495, 
Sha'bah: 498 

Shabbir Ahmad Usmoni:281, 463, 
Shafa'i: 485 
Shah Wali- ullah:87 etc,102, 

Shamsul Haq Afghani :33, 
Shalbi 46, 140, 
Shita'i: 72, 
Simpson: 397, 
Sirin; 486, 
Spirit, what is: 98, 
Squint-eyed offspring: 96, 
St. Petersberg: 215 
Subh al Asha al Qalqashandi: 206, 
Suddi as Saghir: 501, etc., 
Suddi:499, etc., 
Sufi: 369, etc., 

Sufyan Ibn Uyainah: 1 1 3, 488, 
Sulayman A'mash: 220, 
Sulayman. (Prophet): 362, 

Syed Ahmad Khan: 359 392,416, 


Ta'wus: 482,496, 
Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd : 364, etc., 
Tabarani: 97,186, 
Tabari: See Ibn Jarir. 

An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


Tabqat al Kubra: 145, 
Tafsecr al Kasir al imam 

At Razi: 77,280, 
Tafseer Ibn Jarir:I09,125,178, 
Tafseer Ibn Kathir:82,85,230, 
Tafseer Jam ul Bayan: 62,96, 
Tafseer Qasmi: 1 71, 
Tafsir al Qurtabi: 1 1 5,206,225,5 1 8, 
Tafsir defined: 339 
Tafsir Gharaib al Quran: 1 14, 
Tafsir Ibn Kathir: 356, 516 
Tafsir Kabir: 517, 
Tahajjud, 96 

Tahzib ut Asma : 476,489, 
Tahzibul Tahzib: 476, etc, 

481, etc., 501, etc. 
Taj al Urdu:34,288, 
Tajuddin Ibn Ataullah: 370 
Talmud: 361 

Talweeh Ma'al Tawdeeh: 29 
Tanvir al Miqyas: 470,502, 
Taqribul Tahzib: 498,501 

Tarikh Baghdad: 501, etc., 
Tarikh al Quran : 465, 
Tarikh alTabari: 240, 
Tarikh at Tafsir : 465 
Tarikh Baghadad: 222,248, 
Tarikh ul Kabir : 480 
Tarikh ul-Quran: 60,184,195,206, 

Tatsir&Tawil: 341, etc., 
Tazkirah al Ahffaz:365,467,472,475, 

TazkiratuI Huffaz : 496 

Text Book of Jurisprcdcnce : 453, 
ThaMaba: 469 
Thanavi : See Asraf Ali 
Thought Transfer:52, 
Tirmizi 152, 
Torah:76, 362 
Trade & Usuary: 452 
Translation of the Quran: 78, 


Ubaidullah Ibn Ali 

Ibn Abu Rafi : 467, 
Ubaidullah Ibn al Hasan 

al Qirwani 418.420,438. 
Ubaydah Salmani: 1 44, 1 55, 
Ubayduilah ibn Umar : 488 
Ubayy Ibn Khalaf:283, 
Ubbay Ibn Ka*b:85, 107, 121, 128,146, 

Umar : 42,71,83,100,105,109,128, 

130,132,191 etc.,,230, 364, etc., 

Umar Ibn Abi Salman: 106, 
UmdatuI Qari:35,42,133,184,187, 
Umm Ayyub Ansariyah:106 
Umm Hani: 484, 
Umm Kurz : 484, 
Umm Salamah: 100,484, 
Uqayli: 501 

Urwa Ibn ai Khattab : 494,501, 
Urwah Ibn azZubayr : 489, 
Usamah: 484, 
Usui at Tafsir : 386, 
Usui aur us ki Sharah : 4 1 3 
Usury: 452, 
Utbab Ibn Rabi*ah:264 
Uthman , 79,106,1 10,125 etc., 135, 
141,144 etc., 197 etc., 216 etc, 
Uthman Ibn Affan : 355,365,379, 


Vaginal coilus:96. 
Veil: 347, 


WaMajmauzZawaid Haythmi: 188 

Wafyat al A'yan: 222, 

Wahb Ibn Munabbih : 363 , etc.,499, 

Wahidi: 469, 

Wahy al Muhammadi: 46, 

Wahy Ghayr Matluw:47 

Wahy Malluw:47, 

Wahy:32, (meaning)33etc, 

Wakidi: 43,80, 
Walid Ibn Mughirah: 263 
Waliullah: See Shah Waliullah 
Wall of Zulqarnayn: 432, 
Wath Montgomery:220,235,290 etc, 
Walhilahlbn Asqa:218 
Wisdom behind injunctions : 444, etc., 
Wolfenden commitlee: 442, 

An approach to the Quranic Sciences 


Yahay (John), 257, 

Yahya Ibn Mubarah Yazidi, 220, 

Yahya Ibn Sa'id al Qatlan : 498* etc., 

Yahya Ibn Yamur206, 


Yamamali, 184, 191,240, etc. 

Yaqub (Prophet), 336. 

Yaqub Hasan, 78, 

Yaqub Ibn Ishaq al Khidrarni 219. 

Yarmuk: 367, 

Yasuf, (Prophet), 336, 

Yatimul Bayan: 271,522 


Zaboor, 76, 

Zad ul Ma'ad Fi Khair Ibad, 41, 1 87 
Zahabi, 102, 

Zahid ul Kauthari, 141, 143,236,364. 
Zamakhshari, 64, 
Zaraib, 288, 
Zarkashi: 339,343, 

Zarqani, 27, 56, 60, 70, 113, 

U7, 141,143,151, 
Zayd Ibn Arqam : 106.482,492, 
Zayd IbnKhalid : 484, 
Zayd Ibn Thabit 41, 79, 1 10, 134, 
144, 151, 185, 186. 191, etc.' 

197 etc. 472,etc, 482,490, 
Zayli, 188, 

Zirr Ibn Hubaysh, 155 219,235, 
Ziyabd Ibn Abu Sufyans, 206. 
Zubaydi , 34, 
Zubayr Ibn Awwam : 489, 
Zuhri, 63, 156,497, 
Zulqarnayn: 426,427,432, 

Uloom ul-Quran # 

An Approach to ^ 

The Quranic Sciences £^ 

bv Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani 


The Uloom ul-Qur'an is a great scholarly work in Urdu 
by the renowned scholar Maulana Justice Muhammad Taqi 


It has the stamp of authority of Maulana Mufti 
Muhammad Shall «>4**~j and Maulana Muhammad Yusuf 

Binnori ■">*&"*«-;. 

The work covers all aspects of the Qur'an, from wahy 
(revelation) to tajweed (its recital) and various readings. It speaks 
on the background of revelation, nature of revelation, method 
of preservation, kinds of exegesis, critisim of orientalists, history 
and subjects of the Qur'an. 

The Urdu original is indeed a collosal treatise on the 
Qur'an, leaving out nothing related to the Holy Book. 

Dar ul-Isha'at commissioned for the English translation 
in Dr. Muhammad Swaleh Siddiqui. Before publication, the 
entire work was given a second look and is now offered to our 

The translation also features an index of Proper Names 

and of general entries. 

Qasas ul-Anbiya 

Stories of the Prophets 

by Ibn Kathir 

Dar ul-Isha'at has presented yet another English 
translation. This time it is the Qasas ul-Anbiya of Ibn Kathir 

The book is primarily lives of the Prophets based on 
material from the Qur'an and Ahadith. It is drawn from al- 
Bidayah wan Nihayah. 

It is written in simple, everyday language. 

While the Arabic original concludes with the life of 
Sayyidina Isa,?*-* 1 **** in the English translation we have included 
an account of the life of Prophet Muhammad g§£ material for 
which is drawn from Qasas ul-Qur'an. 

The features include two indices an index of Proper 
Name; and of general entries. 





There arc many authoritative h**4i> oq the <*• 

»uran in 
cvl prokvcMor. Mimoa. oolv the Scholars den v< 
be» -om those book* The common man had m 

cd \hnuJ Khan published h 
he challenged prevalent belu tmentcd on 

established issues like prophethood and cd the 

rcalitv of aim 'aradise and Hell BQfda and the 

devil ana Abdul Maq llaqqani Oehlvi gave him 

a bcflWing replv and COffl pOW *» // 

w and Fort a/ M plaining the subject 

vers well I lo WD vac, the need for a uorl at the tame 
magnitude from a I rhe 

it gener , Mm 

Muhammad Taqi I smani with I m ul { 

whi indeed a peerless work in I rdu The vimc 

the reader in I ngltsh !.. 
The Kwk rhe fa 

nature of revelation, sequent cselar JiffT'crcni 

he m« t the 

bey have been tined in everydav. mgua* 

d thev remove all doubts and n 
chtictatn of the orientalists are ar I with 

authoritative I 

om nmtp*